STEM as a platform for learning about Indigenous Australia in the Early Years

The promotion of STEM in the early years is critical because today’s little STEM thinkers are the world’s next generation of inventors, of critical thinkers and innovators. They are our future.

STEM is all about the four key learning areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In the early years, it is about equipping children with the skills needed to thrive in these areas, which are more important in today's world than ever before.

We at Riley Callie Resources are firm believers that STEM also provides the ideal platform upon which to introduce young children to elements of Indigenous culture, history and knowledges. Aboriginal Australians, throughout our history, have been natural inventors and scientists, skilled in environmental management, holding complex understandings of weather, the skies, and the landscape of our country. Did you know that the ancient eel traps of Brewarrina, complex arrangement of stone walls situated in the Barwon River which feeds into the Darling River, were an ingenious invention long used by Aboriginal people to catch fish? They are estimated to be over 40,000 years old and may be one of the oldest human constructions in the world!

Aboriginal culture has so many aspects that can be shared though STEM applications in the early years, e.g. building bush shelters, learning about how to look after our environment, learning about Aboriginal watercraft technologies. The list goes on. We provide many more examples in our IndigiSTEM range of resources.

As a parent or a teacher, there are many easy ways that you can help your young child become a skilled STEM thinker, for example:

  • Teach your children to ask questions, work together, think creatively and solve problems

  • Encourage them to explore and take calculated risks

  • Encourage them to test solutions to problems

  • Encourage them to discover new ways of doing things

Whilst you are thinking about STEM activities to do with your little one, always look to the world around you. The possibilities are limitless, just like your little one’s imaginations, when it comes to employing STEM thinking.

Deborah Hoger