Hands-on Science to promote fine motor skills in early childhood
Research has demonstrated that fine motor skills are strong and consistent predictor of later achievement in life. Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles of the hands needed for tasks such as writing, cutting with scissors, opening up lunch boxes or doing up buttons as an example.
This project focuses on children in vulnerable communities to help grow their interest and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) using art. As art is used as a regular activity in early childhood education it can be used as a way to introduce STEM topics, hence the new acronym STEAM (adding in Art).
Specifically the aim of the project is to help children develop fine motor skills but also better prepare them for school and later careers in STEM. It also encourages early childhood educators in science education, which can sometimes be lacking in early childhood education.
This project will further develop and adapt existing science curriculum for children ages 2-5 with the intent to expose them to science in everyday life and actively engage them early on.
The goal of which is to assist children’s readiness for school, and the opportunity to experience more challenging learning environments and in turn develop cognitive performance. Fine motor skills play a big part in this process.
Previous UOW research has shown that Indigenous children, and those residing in low-income areas have poor motor skills. It is also said that girls from non-metropolitan areas are less likely to engage with STEAM education.
Elisabeth Duursma - Faculty of Social Sciences
Cathrine Neilsen-Hewitt - Faculty of Social Sciences
Gai Lindsay - Faculty of Social Sciences
Teo Treolar - Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
Dr Martina Sanderson-Smith - Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Prof Antoine van Oijen - Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Claire Bowley (External partner: Occupational Therapist)