Re-imagining early childhood for the 21st century

Shantal Braganza coordinated the successful online event for the Faculty of Education

Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer and her Conceptual PlayLab team Glykeria Fragkiadaki, Prabhat Rai, Tanya Stephenson delivered a successful online panel this week. More than 560 people attended the live event from 30 countries around the world, with more than 4000 tuning in later to see the hour long presentation.

The Conceptual PlayLab is in year one of a five-year research project funded by an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, the first ever awarded in early childhood education. The research looks at the way young children form concepts in STEM, how STEM learning happens at home and the development of a national evidence-based model.

Professor Fleer presented initial findings from her research, that shows that without intervention, girls as young as three are disengaging from STEM as they are excluded from physical spaces and take on helper roles.

"Our model for STEM is a transformative practice for girls. It opens up new spaces and leads to different kinds of interactions. It builds an identity that 'STEM is for me'. There's no negotiating to enter spaces. Traditional spaces were reimagined. It's a gender justice issue."

A new and exciting collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering was also revealed during the session that will produce a virtual reality training program for early childhood educators so they could experience a PlayWorld for themselves and a partnership with Playgroups Australia.

The online event is available to view here.

Find out more about the Conceptual Playlab.