STEM-education has been around for some time now... a focus on Science Technology Engineering and Maths in education - not long after came STEAM-education, introducing the Arts into the focus...
As I have been talking with my co-collaborators for the Maker Square at Förskola21 on the 7th of October 2019 we felt there was an essential missing ingredient... Relationships - so we decided to add that extra R and create STREAM.
STREAM does exist already in the sense that there are those that felt "Reading and (w)Riting" needed to be in on the act. But Eva, Amanda and myself felt that reading and writing evolve naturally within STREAM - but that without a sense of security and joy that comes from relationships then play and learning will not occur with the same depth.
The Maker Square at the Förskola21 conference will be a space to test ideas, find inspiration, test materials and technology and get to play. It's a space inspired by maker-spaces, tinker-labs and David Hawkins' "messing about". (David Hawkins was one of the many thinkers that inspired Loris Malaguzzi).
if you have been following me on Instagram you will have seen that we have been messing about with soap-making. And soap has the starring role - but there are many stories to explore, soap is simply our medium this time. Those that come to the Maker Square will get the opportunity to see how soap can be a part of many projects -a language of exploration - you will discover how STREAM is woven into play and learning - and how all of this connects to the Swedish preschool curriculum with a focus on UNDERVISNING (teaching/instruction).
Undervisning is a recent addition to the preschool curriculum in Sweden - the very word is being re-defined to suit preschool approach to teaching with play as the children's main learning language.
For me it is NOT about making teaching playful, but about the educator better understanding play and how to weave learning into this. This is very much connected to my idea of Original Learning - that play and learning are woven together, but that play is the frame that learning, knowledge, experience is woven into.
To be an engineer, to be a researcher, mathematician etc we need imagination - Alison Gopnik says...
And I feel this is at the very heart of Original Learning... and also at the heart of the Maker Square. This is a space for educators to play with materials in order to imagine how to create better learning and play opportunities for the children they work with. Messing about, as Hawkins wrote, in order to understand materials, understand the power of play and exploration... to experiment and test... to dare to make mistakes in a safe space.
Evelina, a pedagogue (barnskötare), has also joined us in our most recent soap making day last week, and will also be joining us on the Maker square in October. Creating a team of four waiting to create relationships with everyone that comes to the Maker Square to play, test, experiment and make connections... to find STREAM in soap-making.
using lego and clay to create a soap form... how many different materials can we use, how many different shapes... are they all efficient?
Playing with colours, smells and adding materials... in this soap there is lavender and vanilla (creating the specks)
some materials are easier to get the soaps out than others... the trickier ones need us to think of what tools can we use to get them out... how can we make it easier in the future...
To read about the maker Square in Swedish check out Amanada's post Kvasar till Förskola21