Last Updated: Friday, December 23, 2022

STEM practice at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre, Lochgelly, Fife

What is this?

This example shows how STEM learning can improve outcomes for children, families and the wider community.

Who is this for?

​This exemplar is relevant to STEM co-ordinators, Early Level practitioners and primary practitioners looking to develop their practice in STEM​.

​​​STEM through the eyes of a child in Sunflower Family Nurture Centre. This example of practice demonstrates the rich STEM learning opportunities on offer at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre for children, families and the wider community. It shows how children experience STEM and how it is woven through the environment for learning, planned experiences, family learning and parenting programmes.

Explore this exemplar

What was done?

Education Scotland invited Sunflower Family Nurture Centre to share how children and families experience STEM on an on-going basis and to consider how STEM improves outcomes for their children and families.

Staff self-evaluated using the STEM self-evaluation framework and as a result developed the STEM through the eyes of a child at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre learning resource. This resource explains the setting's practice and demonstrates how STEM is explored and experienced by children and the wider community.

The Quality Improvement Manager, Head Teacher, Principal Teacher, Senior Early Years Worker and the children share the difference STEM learning makes for the children and community of Lochgelly in Fife.​ Many of the videos which accompany the learning resource were captured by the children as leaders of their learning.

What brought the change?

Sunflower Family Nurture Centre aims to build STEM capital for children and families. Children and families experience STEM at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre through planned, rich experiences with a strong focus on responsive planning. Staff build on the strong community links to develop the children's early knowledge of STEM subjects and skills within the world of work. Opportunities such as the weekly market stall and monthly café also help build the children's numeracy and mathematical skills.

The family learning groups and parenting programmes on offer help build STEM capital together with the on-going partnership working with other agencies.

What was the impact?

Sunflower Family Nurture Centre has a STEM for All philosophy. Their approach to inspiring babies, children, families and the wider community through rich STEM experiences means they build STEM capital across generations in an inclusive way.

Children at Sunflower are leaders in their learning with STEM providing numerous rich possibilities for the children to explore, be inspired and make connections with their learning.

Staff continually reflect on practice and respond to children's interest. This results in learning experiences which spark children's curiosity and engages them in STEM learning from the earliest age.

What are the next steps?

To continue to support Early Level practitioners within the cluster with STEM with a view to expanding this across the authority.​

Improvement questions

Reflecting on the Sunflower example, these questions will support you as you consider your approach to STEM:

  • ​Consider your current environment, how can it be further developed to provide rich opportunities for STEM learning?
  • How can practitioners spark interest and curiosity in STEM for children in a responsive way?
  • How can you build on your community links to enhance your STEM learning opportunities?
  • ​How do you ensure progression in STEM especially at points of transition?


Sunflower Family Nurture Centre introduction by staff

In this video, staff introduce their STEM practice and how they have developed this.

STEM learning captured by a child

​This video shows the STEM learning a child at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre captured.

Reflective questions

  • What opportunities are on offer for the children to learn about and experience STEM?
  • Which contexts does STEM lend itself to?
  • How can you develop the everyday STEM experience of children within your setting?

A walk round Sunflower Family Nurture Garden

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Two children share their STEM learning story.

Reflective questions

  • What possible next steps could support further STEM learning for these children?
  • What opportunities are there to promote STEM within your environment?​
  • How can you further develop the children's experience of STEM within your setting
  • How can you support the children to share their STEM learning?

STEM learning through play

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This video shows how the children experience STEM learning as they play at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre.

Reflective questions

  • How do the learning opportunities on offer enable children to experience STEM?
  • What skills can you see being developed within this exemplar?
  • What opportunities are there to promote numeracy within the experience of the children in your setting?

​Intergenerational STEM work

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This video explains the learning that took place between the Family Nurture Centre and the care home.

Reflective question

  • How can you build STEM learning into your community work and partnerships?


PDF file: Presentation - STEM at Sunflower (2.5 MB)