Effective Early Childhood STEM Education: Findings from the Little Scientists Evaluation

  • Amy MacDonaldEmail author
  • Carmen Huser
  • Shukla Sikder
  • Lena Danaia


This article reports findings from a two-year independent evaluation of the Little Scientists program; a program providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional development for early childhood educators across Australia. This article reports on the qualitative data gathered with educators to illustrate early childhood STEM education in practice. Data are analysed using an established framework for effective STEM education in order to demonstrate how the Little Scientists program is supporting best-practice in early childhood STEM education. Findings suggest that educators’ confidence in teaching STEM has increased, and participants are more aware of children’s skills and knowledge in STEM. Educators are fostering communities of STEM inquiry where children and educators learn and research together, with space for children’s self-directed and play-based explorations. It appears that participation in Little Scientists has afforded a range of benefits for participants and, by extension through their practices, for the children with whom they work.


Early childhood STEM education Science education Educators Professional development Evaluation 



This work was supported by an external competitive grant provided by FROEBEL Australia Limited.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Teacher EducationCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Arts and EducationCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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