Little Scientists bringing German STEM education to preschoolers

Froebel Early Learning Centre is introducing preschoolers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills as part of the Little Scientist initiative.

Melbourne-based Froebel Bilingual Early Learning Centre is one of 350 education and care services across Australia that has introduced students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills as part of the Little Scientists initiative.

Recently introduced from Germany, Little Scientists is an initiative aimed to foster preschool children's curiosity in STEM skills. The initiative has already been adopted by 27,000 German kindergarten classes.

Australian Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said the Little Scientists program is one of many programs that aim to boost Australia's STEM performance.

"Whilst these youngsters are a long way from choosing their careers, the Little Scientists program encourages them to explore and ask questions -- a great foundation for a lifelong interest in STEM," he said.

"Three quarters of our fastest-growing occupations require STEM skills. Engaging the next generation with positive experiences early in life will help them compete for careers, and ensure our prosperity into the future."

Similar efforts are being executed by the Tasmanian government in partnership with Code Club Australia, where a coding curriculum will be rolled out to all 150 primary school classrooms in Tasmania.

Recently, Business Council of Australia president and Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone suggested that children as young as four should be introduced to computational thinking, design thinking, and problem solving. She suggested early exposure to coding would help lift Australia's digital literacy levels, which are currently falling behind international competitors.