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AGM and autumn conference 2019 - Makerspaces for learning: STEM/STEAM in the early years


Conference organised by Early Education, University of Sheffield (MakEY project) and STEM Learning UK

This exciting conference will share ideas on curriculum approaches to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in Early Childhood Education. In particular, the conference will focus on how hands-on approaches to making, tinkering and coding involving arts (STEAM) can engage children and develop skills and knowledge that are important for the 21st century.



Early Education Annual General Meeting

Free to attend - please tick box when booking to tell us if you wish to attend.

10.30am Coffee and registration
10.50am Introduction
11.00 -11.45 am Makerspaces in the early years: Fostering STEM/ STEAM learning through arts and play

Dr Angela Colvert, University of Roehampton and Professor Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield

In this presentation, two projects which have developed young children's STEM knowledge and skills through arts-based approaches (STEAM) will be outlined. The presentation will begin by offering an overview of what a STEAM approach to learning is and why it is important. The work of the EU-funded 'MakEY’ project will be highlighted, which involved creating pop-up makerspaces in nurseries, schools, libraries, museums and a community centre. The presentation will close with a review of a 'Playful Pedagogies' project in KS1 classrooms, in which children are creating 'digital dreams'. The implications for early years education will be considered.

 11.50am -12.35pm Workshops I
Workshop 1

FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Discovery STEM program

Steve Mackenzie, LEGO Education

In this workshop, you will learn about this exciting STEM challenge for 4-6 year-olds and have an opportunity to have hands-on exploration with LEGO STEAM park, Discovery and Discover More kits.

Workshop 2

Maker Boxes: Developing the Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL)

Louise Kay and Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield

In this workshop, you will learn about a project undertaken in 34 nurseries and schools in Barnsley and Sheffield focused on ‘Maker Boxes’, which are based on the story sack concept, but extended to include a focus on STEM learning. The project was very successful in developing the Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL), and an assessment tool developed to enable COEL to be tracked will be shared. There will also be a hands-on makerspace, in which you can have a go at making, tinkering and hacking!

Workshop 3

STEM in the Early Years: An international coding project

Joe Benge, Nursery Teacher; Chloe Hinkson, Nursery Education Worker and Fiona Godfrey, Head teacher, Kate Greenaway Nursery School

In this project, staff from Kate Greenaway Nursery School will outline an exciting digital coding project they undertook in collaboration with a nursery in China. This Ofsted Outstanding Nursery School was awarded a Rolls-Royce Science Prize in 2014 for their inspiring approach to science education.

12.35pm -1.30pm Lunch
1.30 - 2.15pm STEAM in Early Childhood and Primary Education: Putting conceptual complexity into the curriculum

Professor Elizabeth Wood

In this presentation I propose that many national policy frameworks foreground observable behaviours and skills as desired learning outcomes. Drawing on contemporary research, I will outline three concepts that underpin learning, which will enable us to think expansively about the conceptual complexity of children's everyday lives, and of Makerspaces. These three concepts - children's interests, funds of knowledge and working theories - integrate STEAM dispositions such as inquiry, creativity, exploration, invention, problem-creating and problem-solving. These concepts also focus attention on children's multi-modal ways of seeking and using knowledge. The implications are explored for STEAM curriculum-making, pedagogy and learning.

2.20pm - 3.05pm Workshops II
The morning’s workshops will be repeated.
3.10pm - 3.40pm  STEAM in the Early Years: Next Steps?
  Panel members:
Steve Mackenzie, LEGO Education, Karen Brunyee, STEM Learning UK, Professor Cathy Nutbrown, Early Education

This panel discussion, chaired by Jackie Marsh, will explore the future opportunities and challenges in developing STEM/ STEAM learning in early childhood education.

3.40pm -3.45pm Closing words

View Speaker biographies or scroll down to book a place.

Angela Colvert
Elizabeth Wood
Steve Mackenzie
Louise Kay
Jackie Marsh
Karen Brunyee
Cathy Nutbrown
Event type: 
Goldsmiths, University of London, 8 Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Saturday, 9 November, 2019

Members: £70.00
Non-members: £90.00

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