Routes to STEM: Nurturing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Early Years Education.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Currently, my research programme includes the ‘Science Outside the Classroom’ (SOtC) project1 and I am thoroughly enjoying the whole experience! SOtC1 is an exciting collaboration between university, kindergarten and primary school partners in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Spain and Sweden which develops, investigates and evaluates inclusive and innovative ways for young children to build scientific enquiry skills outdoors (Science Outside the Classroom, 2018). SOtC1 educators are working together to find new ways to offer children opportunities to develop key science competencies such as problem-solving, communicating, reasoning, estimating, testing, observing, measuring, comparing, grouping, classifying, evaluating, asking and answering questions, while building non-cognitive skills including resilience, perseverance and confidence in outdoor contexts that promote their agency, physical activity and well-being. In a global context where education is recognised as ‘…a basic human right and the foundation on which to build peace and drive sustainable development’ (United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 2017a, 4), SOtC1 may be regarded as important work. We live in times ‘characterised by a new explosion of scientific knowledge’ and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is considered an important factor for strong economic and social futures (Organisation for Education Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2018, 3; United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 2017b). STEM learning can promote important possibilities for building knowledge across disciplines and incorporates, for example, Arts (STEAM) and Environmental Education (E-STEM) (North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), 2016; 2019; Pitt, 2009; Sochacka, Guyotte, and Walthera, 2016). However, there is recognition that many countries - including those with advanced economies - are not educating appropriately to develop a strong STEM workforce for the future (Moser, Aparecido de Oliveira, and Bueno, 2017; National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, 2007). Equally, STEM advances are creating new social and economic inequalities (Li and Ranieri, 2013; Nieminen, 2016; OECD, 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-221
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number3
Early online date24 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Jane Murray is Associate Professor and Co-Director at the Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK. She has published extensively on early childhood education and social inclusion, and is Editor of the International Journal of Early Years Education.


  • early childhood education
  • STEM


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