STEM in Early Childhood Education: Using the inquiry approach to scaffold learning

Full reference
Roberts, P. & Knaus, M. (2018). STEM in Early Childhood Education: Using the inquiry approach to scaffold learning. NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 21(2), 71-84. Retrieved from https://www.childforum.com/research/2018-issue2-nz-international-research-ece-journal/1652-stem-inquiry-approach-scaffold-learning.html

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Original Commentary Paper
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STEM in Early Childhood Education: Using the inquiry approach to scaffold learning

Pauline Roberts & Marianne Knaus
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Abstract

STEM education is gaining worldwide attention due to its perceived links with economic growth and prosperity of developed countries. Research also indicates the significance of integrating the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as beneficial in enhancing children’s knowledge, skills and dispositions. Although the focus on these areas is usually targeted at the primary and high school years, this commentary paper argues that not only is it important to start STEM education in early childhood settings but that it is a natural connection. STEM aligns closely with early childhood pedagogy of hands-on exploration and the integration of learning across areas using an inquiry approach. Outlined in this paper are ways that STEM and the inquiry-based process can be successfully implemented into early childhood settings. It also identifies how early childhood educators can perhaps position themselves in the current debate.

Key words: STEM, inquiry-based, pedagogy, maths, science, technology, engineering.

 

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