ChildLinks Issue 3: STEAM Learning in Early Childhood

Barnardos. (2022). ChildLinks Issue 3: STEAM Learning in Early Childhood.
STEAM education for young children involves teaching science, technology, engineering, arts and maths as an integrated whole. This holistic apporach not only supports children’s learning in the different areas, but enables them to develop skills that extend beyond them. In early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, when we encourage children to be creative, to experiment, to predict and to try things out, both on their own and while working and interacting with peers, we support them to develop skills in self direction, critical thinking and problem solving. In this issue of ChildLinks, we consider STEAM learning in early childhood education and care settings from both an Irish and international perspective. In the first article, Nicola O’Reilly from the Institute of Education in Dublin City University (DCU) gives an overview of the Early Childhood STEAM Network, an informal network of educators, students, academics and mentors in Ireland with a particular interest in learning more about STEAM, and outlines a study that researches how educators currently perceive STEAM education within ECEC. Dr Nuala Finucane from the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest then considers the factors that influence the provision of science learning experiences in ECEC in Ireland, examining educators’ perceptions and practices around science education. In a further article from the Irish context, Lorraine Farrell from NCCA explores how the Aistear Síolta Practice Guide can support early years educators to notice, name and support science, technology, engineering and maths learning opportunities within their early childhood curriculum. Also in this issue, Dr. Thomas Delahunty, Assistant Professor of Education at Maynooth University, looks at the implicit gendered constructions of STEM education among early childhood educators, examining the evidence of gender stereotype endorsements among future early childhood educators and how this may contribute to the gendered subjectivity in their future pedagogic practice in the early childhood setting. From further afield, Virpi Yliverronen from University of Turku gives an overview of technology preschool education in Finland and explores two projects that approach technology education from different viewpoints. Finally, from the United States, Dr Tracey Hunter- Doniger, Associate Professor of Creativity/Creative Arts in Education in the College of Charleston, South Carolina, considers child-centred approaches to learning, and explores creativity, play, and autonomy as essential skills that engage students in the learning process and enhance their overall enjoyment of STEAM learning.