Early childhood education strategies backed by science
Early childhood education is vital for children to grow into well-functioning adults. You might think ‘it’s a bit too soon to think about that, isn’t it?’ But there’s never too early a time to help children get the best start in life. Scientists, scholars, and researchers have looked over and debated for years about the best type of early childhood education.
Science, technology, research, engineering, arts and mathematics. STREAM and its variations are core principles in school curriculums around Australia. In a recent blog article, Ebony from the Capalaba centre wrote about how the staff and children incorporate these principles in everyday activities.
The human brain is a supercomputer, one of the most complicated on Earth. STREAM moulds little minds through imparting vital knowledge. Thanks to these programs, children learn literacy and numeracy, and refine their motor skills.
But how do the kids learn? They do so actively, not passively. Play-based learning is key in early childhood education and facilitates STREAM principles.
Look at the group of pictures below. Diane Kashin Ed.D, read a book called Sticks and Stones to the members in her workshops and then directed them to a table. It was piled with natural materials like pinecones, rocks and sticks. The participants were asked to build or organise them with STREAM in mind, leading to the formations you see in the pictures.
Children at the Eskay Kids day care centres do similar activities. We paint pieces of bark, organise flower petals, and children often do their own role-play scenarios. They use critical thinking to stack building blocks so they won’t fall (engineering). They use books to develop their literacy and create imaginary characters (technology and arts, respectively).
In early childhood education, play isn’t just done for enjoyment. It’s used by the carers to check the children’s development. Progress is closely tracked and reported regularly so the kids can meet, and exceed, the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework.
Research into trends, improvement, and current performance is never finished. In fact, the constant presence of technology has opened a new niche. It includes cyber safety and how technology impacts play, sustainability, and a child’s awareness of their well being. Lists of current projects are available on the Learning Sciences Institute Australia website.