Joint media release with Minister for Education and Training Senator The Hon Simon Birmingham
Territory preschoolers will be amongst the first in Australia to be introduced to science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) through a new series of fun, play-based apps.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, confirmed six preschools in the NT were among 100 selected to be part of the Coalition Government’s innovative Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot.
“The Territory preschools are: Bees Creek Preschool (Darwin rural), Larapinta Preschool (Alice Springs), Moulden Park Preschool (Palmerston), Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Preschool (Bathurst Island), Nakara Preschool (Darwin) and St Mary’s Community of Learners Preschool (Darwin city).
“Congratulations to these preschools for being selected in the trial and commitment to introducing their preschoolers to new and exciting learning opportunities,” Senator Scullion said.
“We want to help children explore new ideas and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths that will in turn boost their literacy and numeracy.”
Senator Scullion said the first app would introduce the concepts of sorting, ordering, patterns and representations through activities including creating decorations and organising food onto different plates, all within the theme of ‘celebration’.
“This new $6 million program will give our littlest learners the opportunity to develop numeracy skills and scientific curiosity that will set them up for the rest of their schooling,”Senator Scullion said.
“With employment trends showing 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest growing careers demand skills in digital literacy and STEM it is wonderful to see the curiosity of children in the Northern Territory is being encouraged early in their development.”
The announcement follows the success of the Coalition Government’s Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) apps in introducing Territory preschoolers to a language other than English.
Larrakeyah Preschool, the Essington School Darwin Preschool Childcare Centre, Durack Primary School, Wagaman Preschool in Darwin and Durack Primary School in Palmerston are taking part in the ELLA apps trial.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said independent analysis released recently showed the apps were effective in introducing new languages to preschool children, raising their awareness of other cultures, and engaging their interest in learning different languages.
“Three quarters of educators stated they have more confidence in incorporating language learning into their preschools after implementing the ELLA trial. But more pleasing still, close to 90 per cent of educators expected children to continue to demonstrate an interest in learning about additional languages beyond the completion of the program,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We’re learning from the success of the ELLA program which we’ve supported with $15.7 million in funding to roll it out to more than 1,800 preschools and 61,000 children.”
The ELSA pilot commences in Term 1 next year. For more information and a full list of selected preschools visit: www.elsa.edu.au