We will explore the heart and soul of STEM as a way of thinking and life style for investigation-based learning in early learning environments – beyond the ‘activity approach’. We will discuss how investigation, problem solving, and critical thinking, are the foundation of Logic & Reasoning and Critical Thinking Early Learning Guidelines as well as STEM Guidelines. This provides an approach to how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math can be naturally integrated in early childhood learning experiences. We will investigate how using loose parts and intriguing open-ended materials can provide the basis for investigation-based projects that broaden and deepen children’s cognitive development.
Participants will have the opportunity to play with loose parts and intriguing materials, in small groups, to discover and experience STEM principles in action. They will learn the Design Process including ideation, investigating multiple solutions to a single problem, as a structured framework for both adults and children to solve meaningful problems and investigate the physical world we live in.
1. Identify and discuss how STEM focused early learning outcomes and guidelines are met through play and investigation in everyday early learning environments.
2. Play with loose parts and open-ended materials, in small groups, to experience STEM principles in action.
3. Solve problems and respond to provocations using intriguing materials that foster and integrate STEM skills and how they can implement similar strategies in the classroom with children.