Insect Hotels: A STEM based project for 3–5 year olds

Sustainability and awareness of natural resources and the human impact upon them are key components throughout the education sector. Believing that good habits are formed in the early years, the Early Start Discovery Space is passionate about incorporating a sense of care and respect of the environment into its education programs and throughout the museum’s physical environment. The Discovery Space’s Insect Hotels program provides a unique case study of how the museum is achieving this objective. Targeting children aged 3–5 years, the program aims to raise awareness of the important role that insects play to the broader ecosystem and how individuals can care for the natural environment. The collaborative program involved 20 early childhood educators from ten childcare centres. The educators participated in a professional development workshop and were provided with the knowledge, skills and resources to be able to implement the project in their respective early childhood centres. The project was supported by a qualified practicing entomologist who provided the scientific information ensuring it was based on current and best practice. Children participating in the program were engaged in several hands-on learning experiences to become fully immersed in the topic. The children planned and constructed insect hotels, which they then place in their natural environment and repeatedly visited over an eight week period to observe any insects residing in them. Overall the project was a success with educators stating an increased knowledge and confidence in delivering STEM-based learning experiences for preschool aged children. The children were highly engaged and helped to direct much of their learning. Both educator and child became excited in the process and new learnings, drawing connections from their home environments to the classroom or centre setting, making the learning more relevant.

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Location: Room 1 - Presentations
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Date: 05/10/2019 Time: 11:25 am - 11:45 am Martha Johnson