How does the garden grow?
STEM in Kindergarten
STEM in Kindergarten is an opportunity to create a meaningful context for children’s learning through flexible learning spaces which emphasise higher order thinking and problem-solving through independent play and inquiry.
Learning opportunities should support students as active, curious and questioning learners. The role of the teacher is to help the students sustain thinking and make meaning by giving students the space and opportunities to iterate, reflect and revise. STEM inquiries therefore, are fluid and directions taken will differ depending on the children’s interests.
Overview of STEM Inquiry
The Kindergarten STEM Inquiry was part of a whole school inquiry focus: ‘How does the garden grow?’. This was explored through the inquiry concept, ‘The natural world offers us opportunities to learn about life’ which was pursued through authentic and meaningful learning opportunities whereby the students researched, questioned, designed, built, evaluated and assessed their experiences.
Students in Kindergarten enjoyed many play-based learning experiences, particularly as they explored mud, created gardens and linked learning to farm life.
With the initial provocation ‘Staking our claim’, each class planted a section of the school garden, and observed it change over time. The children excitedly prepared the soil, planted and watered their plants. They delighted in the successes and pondered on the reasons why some plants didn’t grow. They set up experiments to test how different conditions affected the growth of the plants. Additionally, the school front foyer became a growing exhibition of the students’ new knowledge as each week students showcased their learning.
Sandy Bay Infant School is a government school situated on the shores of the Derwent River. The school caters for children from Kindergarten to Year 2 from the surrounding community. Sandy Bay Infant School currently has 86 students.