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Research behind the model

The Conceptual PlayWorld model is part of a larger five-year programmatic research called the Conceptual PlayLab (2019 - 2024).

The Conceptual PlayLab project is led by Monash Professor Marilyn Fleer (see Marilyn's research profile). It is supported by a five-year $3.2 million Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.

It also includes the Land of Learning model of teaching STEM concepts to children of early primary age.

For those interested in the nitty-gritty of this large study, please go to Conceptual PlayLab project, or you may be interested in our Working Papers.

About the research

The Conceptual PlayLab is Australia's first programmatic study that aims to test ground-breaking play-based models of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics to young children. It aims to create significant shifts in the ways STEM concepts are taught to young children in Australia, and around the world.

It has three parts:

  • Part 1

    To find out how infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers form concepts in STEM.

  • Part 2

    To investigate the way families support their children to learn about STEM.

  • Part 3

    To develop an evidence-based model for teaching STEM in early childhood.

Over the life of the project we will be following the experience of more than 100 young children.

We will be looking at how and why the children form concepts in STEM, and the ways Conceptual PlayWorlds help them.

Working with early childhood educators, we will collect insights, experiences and track concept development.

Visual data will be collected by our Conceptual PlayWorld app. Downloading and sharing of videos referred to during our interviews will only occur where consent has been given by educators and families.