NISA early learning initiatives


Early Learning STEM Australia program

The Australian Government will provide $5.8 million over three years to the University of Canberra for the design, development and implementation of the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program.

The ELSA program will provide the opportunity for preschool children to explore an online, play-based learning environment, delivered through a series of applications (apps) for tablet devices that are rich in STEM concepts. Six apps will be developed, including a Families app and an Educator app to assist with integrating ELSA into the preschool program and to extend learning opportunities at home.

A tender process to engage a project management office to deliver the ELSA program opened on 2 May 2016 and closed on 10 June 2016 (Request for Tender in relation to Project Management of the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot program)  with the University of Canberra engaged as the successful provider.

Let’s Count

The Australian Government has committed $4 million over four years from 2016–17 to The Smith Family to expand the operation of the Let’s Count early years mathematics program.

This funding will also help to facilitate the development of an online version and accompanying parent mobile application. Let’s Count helps early years educators support parents to develop the maths skills of their child by noticing, exploring and talking about numbers, counting, measurement and patterns in their daily lives. This in turn helps these children to develop the numerous skills needed to successfully transition to school.

Further information on Let’s Count is available at

Little Scientists

Froebel Australia Limited will receive a grant of $4 million over three years from 2016–17 to extend the reach of the Little Scientists program and expand the community of STEM practice in early learning settings. Little Scientists helps early learning educators to build their skills and confidence in leading STEM activities. Educators are provided with STEM ideas and concepts using everyday materials that they can then use to lead children in their care through fun and inquiry-based learning.

Further information on Little Scientists is available at

The STEM in the Early Years Programme grant guidelines

The STEM in the Early Years Programme grant guidelines refer to the Let’s Count and Little Scientists initiatives and are now publicly available.