Last week, all Kids Academy centres participated in National Science Week, one of our more loved and educational events of the year for our children, educators and teachers!
National Science Week is also where we encourage all our centres to get involved in our Big Thinkers – STEM program, developed to foster and grow science education and expertise across Australia. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) "Big Thinkers" program is a part of the Lifelong Learning Curriculum for children aged three to five.
Developed in collaboration with Dr Tess Boyle, Adjunct Associate Professor, Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University, Affinity Education's "Big Thinkers' is an integrated STEM program that covers natural science, weather, physics, and biology using a learning-through-play and hands-on approach.
Dr Lesley Jones, Head of Pedagogy and Practice at Affinity, said: "Jobs in STEM are highly paid and highly valued in the Australian and global economy, and there is a lack of talent entering the sector. By starting STEM education early with children, there is a huge opportunity to excite them about STEM and develop a pipeline of future Australian leaders and thinkers in the space."
The curriculum is taught across all our centres throughout the year, with a supported professional development program for our educators and teachers delivering the education program at each centre.
Kids Academy Erina Heights provided their prep room with a range of engaging and STEM-based fun!
Samantha Martin, Centre Manager for Kids Academy Erina Heights, shared, "The children's favourite activity would have to have been experimenting with Bi-carb soda and vinegar to explore the reactions that occur. We added food colouring to allow them to observe the principle of cause and effect."
Through the simple use of items such as Bi-carb soda and vinegar, children develop an understanding of the world around them through active, hands-on learning and investigation, forming ideas and theories about chemical reactions and experimentation.
Melissa Bailey, Early Childhood Teacher at Kids Academy Erina Heights, explained, "I love involving the children in experiences that allow them to take an active role in their learning. The STEM project allowed the children to question their understanding and further their knowledge by asking the "how, when and why" of the experiment."
The STEM Big Thinkers curriculum has been available at all Kids Academy kindergarten and preschool centres for children aged three years and up since 2022, and we are incredibly proud of how this program has grown!