Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Pilot
The University of Canberra is being funded to design, develop, and pilot the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program - a series of play-based digital apps that facilitate engagement in foundational STEM practices for preschool children and build the capacity of early learning educators.
The ELSA apps consist of four play-based learning apps for preschool children (linked to the Early Years Framework (EYLF) and the Australian Curriculum Foundation), a resources app for educators and an information app for parents.
The children's apps encourage learning beyond the screen through active, play-based learning experiences that introduce STEM practices, such as exploring location, patterns and problem solving.
The Smith Family is being funded to expand the Let's Count program to more Australian communities and to develop an online Let's Count training facility for educators as well as a parent resource. The Let's Count program is an early mathematics program for children aged three to five which is aligned to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). It supports educators and parents to develop the mathematics skills of the children in their care by noticing, exploring, and talking about mathematics using everyday activities.
The Government is providing funding to Froebel Australia Limited to extend the reach of the Little Scientists program. Little Scientists helps early learning educators to build their skills and confidence in understanding STEM ideas and concepts, so that they can lead fun and inquiry-based learning activities, using everyday materials with preschool children.
Early Learning STEM Research
The Government engaged Victoria University in 2016 to look at the quality and range of STEM education apps available for early learning in preschools. Apps were assessed on how they met the learning outcomes as stated in the Early Years Learning Framework.
The research found that despite a large number of STEM apps being on the market, only a few are useful to educators to encourage STEM in early learning. This research was used to inform the development of the ELSA apps.
Information about further support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) can be found here at the Support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) page of this website.