Little Scientists - Inquiry-Based Learning in STEM
FROEBEL is bringing the Little Scientists to Australia. We believe all young children should have daily access to scientific, mathematical and technical learning experiences that are joyful and empowering.
We have made it our mission to do all we can to reach as many of Australia’s children as possible with our Little Scientists program, and to ignite young children’s curiosity for STEM. We believe this is best done by encouraging inquiry-based learning where the early childhood educators and teachers are involved as learning facilitators, but the actual learning, problem-solving and research is undertaken by the children themselves.
FROEBEL’s Little Scientists run workshops for early childhood educators and teachers to empower them to implement age-appropriate STEM exploration in their curriculum for young children. Transferring the inquiry-based learning approach from the Little Scientists workshops into children’s daily activities not only enhances the pure joy of learning and exploring as such but also boosts the children’s self-confidence, encourages their critical thinking and improves their overall mathematical, technical and scientific understanding, fosters their social and learning skills and extends their vocabulary through active collaboration with their peers and educators.
We are proud and humbled that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on 8 February 2016 that the Australian Government will be contributing $4m to the national rollout of the Little Scientists program from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2019 under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
We are collaborating with a number of partners throughout Australia (e.g. the Northern Territory Department of Education, Lady Gowrie Tasmania, Community Early Learning Australia, Fairfield City Council, Campbelltown City Council, Association of Independent Schools Western Australia, and many more) and are now able to deliver workshops to early childhood educators in all States and Territories. By the end of the Financial Year 2016-17, more than 1,700 educators had attended our professional development workshops in Australia. A tremendous achievement of our Little Scientists team at the FROEBEL Head Office.
We are thrilled that PwC Australia has offered two Strategic Partnerships to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education initiatives: FROEBEL’s Little Scientists and “Teach for Australia”. PwC will work with us during the further national rollout of our Little Scientists program across all States and Territories. FROEBEL has been collaborating with PwC for the past 12 months as part of the firm’s 21st Century Minds STEM education Accelerator Program, backed by the Office of the Chief Scientist and some of Australia’s largest corporates, including: Google, NAB, BP and GE. FROEBEL’s Little Scientists initiative was selected by a panel of PwC leaders for its potential to have a significant impact on STEM education in Australia, as well as its potential for scale with PwC support. We will receive $250,000 in in-kind services and will work with a PwC partner mentor to determine how the firm can best support the program’s growth.
Little Scientists Australia is based on the successful work of the German Foundation “Haus der kleinen Forscher”, founded in 2006. The development of workshops and materials by the "Haus der kleinen Forscher" Foundation draws on current knowledge in developmental psychology, learning research, early education and didactics. In addition, the Foundation has incorporated numerous empirical findings and content-based recommendations accumulated during trainer workshops, regular preschool visits and observations made in the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” Foundation's local networks in Germany over the last ten years. The OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) Governing Board has recommended Little Scientists as exemplary initiative for innovative teaching in its report “Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning”, released in April 2012.
We manage the program independent from our childcare operations; it is funded through workshop participation fees and government grants.
If you want to be part of this exciting project, and if you would like your childcare centre, family day care, kindergarten or preschool to participate, please contact our Little Scientists team: mailto:email@example.com