4/9/2017

Wide Bay pre-schoolers get a head start in STEM

Pre-schoolers in Maryborough 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.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien confirmed Village Kids Children’s Centre in Granville was one of 100 selected to be part of the Coalition Government’s innovative Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot.
 
“Congratulations to Village Kids for being selected in the trial, and for their commitment to introducing pre-schoolers to new and exciting learning opportunities through these apps,” Mr O’Brien said.
 
“By helping children explore new ideas and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths, this new $6 million program will in turn boost their literacy and numeracy and set them up for a successful education.”           
 
Mr O’Brien said 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 program will give our littlest learners the opportunity to develop numeracy skills and scientific curiosity,” Mr O’Brien said.
 
Mr O’Brien said it was important to encourage children to develop and interest in digital literacy and STEM, with employment trends showing 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest growing careers demand skills in those areas.
 
The announcement follows the success of the Coalition Government’s Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) apps in introducing Wide Bay pre-schoolers 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