PRESCHOOLERS at the Butterflies Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Mooroobool will be amongst the first in Australia to be introduced to science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) through a new series of fun, play-based apps.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said Butterflies was one of 100 early learning centres selected to be part of the Coalition Government’s innovative Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot.
“I congratulate Butterflies on being selected in the trial, and being commitment to introducing its preschoolers to new and exciting learning opportunities,” Mr Entsch said.
“We want to help children explore new ideas and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths that will in turn boost their literacy and numeracy.
“The first app would introduce the concepts of sorting, ordering, patterns and representations through activities including creating decorations and organising food onto different plates, all within the theme of ‘celebration’.
“This new $6 million program will set up our littlest learners to develop their numeracy and scientific skills in preparation for school,” Mr Entsch said.
“With employment trends showing 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest growing careers demand skills in digital literacy, it’s great to give our children a head start with STEM.
Director of Butterflies Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Ms Helen Moors said approximately 25 children aged 3-5 years will participate in the program starting February 2018.
“I decided to register our interest in STEM because Butterflies is always searching for new and exciting ways to teach the children and educators new skills and further their knowledge. We are teaching a generation of techno kids, and this program uses the tools children are familiar with in a fun and exciting way,” Ms Moors said.
“As a small long day care centre in Far North Queensland we feel honoured and privileged to be chosen to be one of the lucky few to pilot STEM.
“Being the only centre in Cairns to be chosen, we can’t wait to implement this new and exciting learning program and share its development, implementation and success with our families and the local community,” Ms Moors said.
The announcement follows the success of the Government’s Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) apps in introducing Leichhardt preschoolers to a language other than English.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said independent analysis released recently showed the apps were effective in introducing new languages to preschool children, raising their awareness of other cultures, and engaging their interest in learning different languages.
“Three quarters of educators stated they have more confidence in incorporating language learning into their preschools after implementing the ELLA trial. But more pleasing still, close to 90 per cent of educators expected children to continue to demonstrate an interest in learning about additional languages beyond the completion of the program,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We’re learning from the success of the ELLA program which we’ve supported with $15.7 million in funding to roll it out to more than 1,800 preschools and 61,000 children.”
The ELSA pilot commences in Term 1 next year. For more information and a full list of selected preschools visit: www.elsa.edu.au