Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Builders of the future

By: MAIRE CORBETT

Tuesday 07 March 2017

It is Engineers Week this week. The purpose is to celebrate engineering in Ireland.  This starts with us, the educators who are passionate about play, the educators who realise that the very young children we work with everyday are the builders, scientists, architects and engineers of the future!

The concept of STEM subjects is a buzz word in education these days. We know how important it is to support children to engage and be passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. As technology develops at an ever increasing pace, we must make sure that children develop dispositions such as curiosity and persistence, so they can be part of, contribute to and lead the way of enquiry and discovery in the future. Of course we know this is not confined to secondary schools or even primary.  NAEYC, in a Young Children article says: From their earliest years, children engage with the world in ways that can promote learning related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They balance blocks to build a wall; bat at a mobile to make it spin; and push and pull magnets together and apart. Research shows that the earlier we guide and support children's wonder about the world--and thereby identify opportunities for children to acquire foundational STEM skills--the more successful they are in all areas of learning later on.    

We see examples every day in our early years’ settings. I’m sure you have seen examples like these in your settings too.

I was in a preschool last week where a little girl was using the Jenga pieces very carefully. She was absorbed but noticed me observing her. She looked up and said I’m building a bouncy castle… engineering in action! jenga pieces - Builders of the future

In the same setting there was another little girl making patterns with shapes. She was very purposeful in how she created the pattern, seeing how the shapes and colours fitted together. More engineering in action!child playing with bricks - Builders of the future

The following day, in another setting, I saw another little girl who was intent on building with Lego. The educator explained to me that this little girls’ family are building a new house. Every day, for long stretches of time, this child recreates what is happening in her new house. The educators know what stage the new house is at through observing her block play. She methodically works on the blocks, the walls, the roof, the windows and doors and everyday builds on her interest in the shape, size and space in her new house. She is given time to do this, 10 or 20 minutes is not enough. A future Dermot Bannon for sure!child playing with lego - Builders of the future

And very young children explore these concepts too. Look at this 13-month old focus intently on playing with the wooden rod and getting it into the hole in the wheel. He has already developed skills of spatial awareness and is honing these skills further in his exploration.

To support children to explore these ideas we must make lots of open-ended materials freely available.  We need to provide extended time for children to play with and explore the materials, enabling them to become involved, absorbed and engaged. Aldo Fortunati referred to Trust, Opportunity and Time as being fundamental to giving children opportunities to really explore and think about their worlds. This means trusting children to be confident and confident learners, giving lots of unscheduled, uninterrupted time to engage and opportunities to think, reflect and be challenged.

For more ideas, look back on our Scéalta post from November 15th 2016, which explores how we support young children to engage with science and our Scéalta post from October 18th 2016 looking at how children playfully become the mathematicians of the future.

We’d love to hear from you about how you support the STEM areas in your setting!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Thinking(1) Academic Skills(1) Creativity(4) Participation(2) Learning Journal(2) Sport(1) Games(1) toddlers(3) eating(1) show and tell(1) Ceremony(1) Early Childhood Ireland(4) preschool(4) Dance(1) Horizon 2020(1) TRAP(1) Hand Hygiene(2) family time(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Adoption(1) Arlene Forster(1) Light table(1) Intention(1) Creative(1) Awards(2) gender bias(1) respect(5) Employee(1) Mantra(1) School Age Childcare(1) Celebrate(1) Event Guide(1) Síolta(120) Autism(4) Iraq(1) COVID-19 Reopening(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Shapes(1) Trade Unions(1) maternity health(1) pets(1) Blocks(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Spiders(1) Plants(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Communicating(1) lockdown(1) Celebrations(4) Vertical grouping(1) GoToMeeting app(1) RTE Investigates(1) Budget 2018(1) routine(2) Confident(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Favouritism(1) staying connected(1) Cork(1) Your place(1) Inspections(1) Document Learning(1) Behaviour(3) Deirdre Rogers(1) play therapy(1) Appreciation(1) Aistear(122) Childhood(1) Relaxation(1) University(1) Kilkenny(1) Graduation(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Children's Voice(1) Awards 2018(3) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Change(1) Professionalisation(5) Research and Professional Learning(1) Magda Gerber(1) Malaguzzi(1) phone apps(1) Affordability(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) transitions(10) children development(1) College(1) Titles(1) budget(1) reopening(1) code of ethics(1) Early Years(1) Gardening(1) PIP(1) imotion(1) Covid pandemic(1) Imagination(3) memories(1) relationships(17) Gratitude(1) UN(1) Self Help Skills(1) listen(1) Wendy Lee(3) Supernanny(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) United Nations(1) continual professional development(1) Giraffe(2) Study Trip(1) linc(1) Settling in(4) Arithmetic(1) Sessional service(1) Empathy(1) ERASMUS+(3) conversations(1) learning(19) NCCA(3) Confidence(1) Consent(1) Through the looking glass(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) responsive relationships(1) Treasure Chest(1) Montessori(3) dublin(2) Nuturing interactions(1) AsIAm(2) learners(1) Summer(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) research(6) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Workplace well-being(1) Music(3) Department of Education and Skills(1) Engineers Week(2) Book Review(1) E.coli(1) Graduate(1) ELC(1) under 3's(3) Culture(2) Treasure(1) social science(1) Mathematicians(1) Laughter(1) Maths Week(1) blog(36) science week(2) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Book Club(2) Support(1) Upcycling(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) DES Inspection(1) Loss(1) Names(1) developing motor skills(1) Inter-generational(2) social media(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Exclusion(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Siolta blog(8) EECERA 2016(1) Jenga(1) The Lullaby Book(1) COVID-19(6) Funding(1) Eritrea(1) Awards Night(1) Reggio Emilia(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Maria Montessori(1) CCTV(1) First 5 strategy(1) Performance Management(1) Research Conference 2019(1) education(2) Investment(2) Pedagogy(1) Childcare(3) Mount Everest(1) Care routines(1) apps for children(1) Engineering(3) Family wall(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) overhear(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Educators(2) Painting(1) Children's Research Network(1) bloom app(1) food(1) Magic(1) Interaction(1) Equality(1) dining(1) Youtube Series(1) Wilenski(1) Queues(1) Digital Devices(1) Irish guidelines(1) Interests(1) Performing(1) Maternity Leave(1) scéalta(40) Rising to the Challenge(2) communication(4) ICBN(1) baby room(1) Human Resources(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) RIE philosphy(1) Art(6) Nonverbal(1) Buddies(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Decision Making(1) Window(1) Sleep(1) Online(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Infectious diseases(1) STEM(3) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Children and families(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Maynooth University(2) MECPI(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) emotions(2) Well-Being(9) Budget 2020(1) Italy(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) animals(2) friendships(1) awards 2020(1) Wrapping paper(1) Mud kitchens(1) Reading Time(1) Time Out(1) Mealtimes(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Maynooth(1) dining experiences(1) Fabric(1) Touch(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Sustainability(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) educarer(1) Line-ups(1) environments(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Leargas(1) Smiles(1) Plastic(1) Home Corner(1) Bereavement(2) Reflective Practice(1) Love(2) DCYA(5) Infection Control(1) Buddy Bench(1) planning(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) National Awards 2018(2) Flowers(1) EM Standing(1) Certificate(1) movement behaviours(1) Socioemotional development(1) Elders(1) Winter(1) INTO(1) Technology(3) Environment(2) Teamwork(1) worries(1) structure(1) Learning Story(1) Workforce(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) risky play(2) Belonging(3) Shoes(1) Vietnam(1) educating(1) ECEC Setting(2) journey(1) Storytelling(6) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Social Skills(1) Self-Esteem(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Inclusion(3) Valentine's Day(3) dogs(1) European Project(1) Easter(1) Early Years Educators(3) Challenges(1) Fantasy play(1) Engagement(1) Role play(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Identity(5) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Sweets(1) National Awards 2019(1) SAC(1) learning bias(1) Norway(2) Covid19 crisis(1) Sustainable(1) community(5) outdoor play(6) Death(2) National Pyjama Day(1) Digital(1) annual conference(1) keep in touch(1) Cognitive development(1) Training(2) Leprechauns(1) Map(1) Reopening Childcare(1) CIT(1) Traffic Lights(1) mental health problems(1) purpose(1) Recycle(1) life long learning(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Administrative Burden(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Pobal(1) Running(1) Awards 2019(1) Self-regulation(1) Exploring(1) Kerry(1) Potential(1) Prexit(1) National Holiday(1) Scents(1) early years research(2) Meet the Members(1) experience(1) risk assessment(1) First 5(1) Ariana Pucci(1) development(8) Margy Whalley(1) healthy eating policies(1) Trigonometry(1) IGL(1) Snacks(1) Halloween(2) Pobal sector profile(1) documentation(4) Recycling(2) Laugh(1) Afghanistan(1) stories(3) Research Seminar(1) early years learning(1) Builders(1) story time(2) Fee Play(1) science(3) NAEYC(1) emotional environment(2) art of the relationship(1) Primary School(2) grandchild(1) early childhood educator(2) mushrooms(1) Weather(1) childcare services(1) curriculum(5) Playdough(1) gender stereotype(1) Exit interview(1) Body Language(1) parents(6) aistear blog(3) Positivity(1) Reggio(1) Little Buddies(1) Rich Documentation(1) Trick or treat(1) refugees(1) curiosity(3) Snack Time(1) youdoodle(1) Japan(1) Yoga(1) Anxiety(2) Staff Motivation(1) Universal Design(2) man up(1) GDPR(1) Health(2) feisty(1) Family(1) Santa(2) Snakes(1) risk(2) reading(5) role playing(1) UD(1) Workplace Relations(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) Design(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Learning journals(1) Syria(1) Academics(1) Masterclass(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Children(4) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Competent(1) Penguins(1) play stories(2) Xbox(1) Maths(5) Time(1) Biting(1) Children's Rights(3) Diversity(1) ReCreate(2) Thank you(1) UNCRC(2) Lego(2) Kids Own(1) child-centric(1) Glitter(2) Early Learning and Care(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Drawing(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Brain(1) Communications(1) Iceland(1) Opportunities(1) Facebook(1) Irish(1) Breathing(2) supportive environments(2) Child mental health(1) Party(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) ears(1) Pre-School Services(1) play(34) Obesity(1) Capable(1) Frustrations(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Decisions(1) meals(3) outdoors(3) Stress(2) Exercise(1) bonds(1) racism(1) Grief(1) Patterns(1) Nutrition(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) books(4) Albert Einstein(1) ECEC(3) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Budget 2019(2) Learning Stories(9) Traditions(2) HR(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Mayo(1) christmas(9) National Childcare Scheme(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Quality(4) AIM(2) code of professional responsibility(1) preschool settings(1) New Appointments(1) Wesco(1) early life(1) Interactions(2) play pod(1) TOY Programme(1) interacting(2) Sequins(1) play pods(1) Advocacy(1) Photographs(1) World Health Organisation(1) Community involvement(1) value(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Limerick(1) Mark Twain(1) Inspirational(2) Valerie Gaynor(1) Whole Group(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Playschool(1) Arts(1) Seas Suas(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Rituals(1) Leaders in Practice(1) reopening ireland(1) listening(1) Inter-generational learning(2) iOS(1) The Jelly King(1) Mo Scéal(1) SPICE Framework(1) Visitors(1) Scéalta Blog(99) MA(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Twitter(1) Craft(1) june29(1) Orla Kenny(1) Super Shed Stories(2) child-centred approach(1) Impact(1) research submissions(1) CPD(1) Trade union(1) Sculptures(1) Síolta QAP(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Feeding(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Oireachtas(1) Meal time(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Leadership(1) behavioural science(1) trust(4) Independence(1) Mixed age groups(2) Mindfulness(2) Child Care(1) Building Resilience(1) Policy(2) Wonder(1) ECCE(7) Together Old and Young Programme(1) collaboration(1) Routines(2) babies(7) Care-giving routines(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) conference(1) San Miniato(4) Visual Impairment(1) Magnavacchi(1) primary education(1) outdoor space(3) Pen green(1) Story(1) keezy(1) Our Little Seed(1) pablo(1) Thanks(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Qualifications(1) Degree(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Mental Health(3)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine