STEAM Education in the Early Years: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Call for Book Chapters

Posted 4th November 2021


Weipeng Yang (, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

Sarika Kewalramani (, Monash University, Australia

Jyoti Senthil (, University of Bath, UK

STEAM (an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education is a powerful lever to engage students on STEM-related career pathways without sacrificing the humanities, especially when an interdisciplinary workforce is required to achieve innovation for the future. An international wellspring of educators is striving for the integration of the arts into STEM to develop creative and culturally responsive abilities among the next generations, with the promotion of STEAM education in the early years.

Promoting STEAM education as an approach to early education aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015. SDGs have become a universal call to action to tackle structural inequalities widely existing on the planet. Some of the widely debated structural inequalities include poverty, gender discrimination, racism, digital divide, post/colonialism, Global North-South divide, and rural-urban gaps (Yang, 2021). These inequalities have penetrated the very fabric of society and adversely affect human wellbeing, leading to negative stereotypes, low social mobility, and a lack of diversity and inclusion (Heckman, 2011).

There is an absence of STEAM discourses in the state or national early childhood education frameworks or standards (Yang et al., 2020). Early childhood educators are yet to be sufficiently prepared for the future, in which children’s learning and acquisition of 21st-century skills, computational thinking, and design thinking would be highly expected and required (Bers, 2020). In line with this, research is beginning to show us how STEAM education can become a feasible and viable platform to augment children’s imagination (Fleer, 2020), inquiry-based dispositions (Kewalramani et al., 2021), and inform children’s different types of emergent play (Marsh, 2017).

This book will step forward to bring together scholarly research within the early childhood STEAM education discipline underpinning SDG themes of equity, diversity, inclusion, ethics and opportunity, and wellbeing. This book will engage with policies and practices and pave the discussion for employing social justice perspectives to illuminate, interrogate, and highlight innovations about ways in which early childhood practitioners and academics across the globe can respond to the experiences, challenges, ambiguities, and tensions of STEAM teaching and learning in early years spaces.

In line with the agenda to link the challenges and/or solutions to ethics, power and values needed for a balanced and socially-just approach to STEAM education in the early years, this book call invites scholars and practitioners, across all sociocultural backgrounds, theoretical traditions and methodological frameworks, to submit a 250-word maximum chapter abstract relating to the theme “STEAM Education in the Early Years: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. The variety of submissions can include systematic reviews, policy analyses, case reports, and empirical studies with a relevance to specific cultural contexts or the international context. All submissions should be understandable to a lay-audience, and use the APA 7th referencing style. 

Suggested topics:

  • How early childhood teachers perceive and practice STEAM education
  • Children’s voices and learning experiences related to STEAM education
  • Interactions between home and pre-school environments to provide quality, inclusive and accessible STEAM education for young children
  • New pedagogies for integrating the arts into STEM to promote inclusive and quality early childhood education
  • Incorporating technologies into early childhood education for disadvantaged children though pre-schools and families
  • Family involvement in early STEAM education
  • The role of research and policy in early STEAM education to reduce inequality
  • Coding campaign and computational thinking in early childhood education
  • Maker movement and design thinking in early childhood education
  • Investigating/addressing the STEM stereotype related to gender in early childhood


Chapter abstract submission no later than 15th January 2022

Each chapter abstract must make clear and valid links to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and other SDGs, if appropriate, and cover:

  • The scholarly or research aims for the work to be reported in the chapter
  • The context or setting for the work including the SDGs in focus
  • The theoretical or conceptual framework adopted
  • The research methods used (if appropriate)
  • The chapter’s main claims and/or findings
  • Conclusion for policy, research, and/or practice
  • A list of important references (not counted in the 250-word limit)

Notification of abstract acceptance and editors’ feedback (if any) by 31st January 2022

An invitation to submit a full chapter will not be a guarantee of acceptance. All manuscripts will undergo the peer review procedure.

Submission of full manuscripts due on 31st August 2022

Manuscripts will be returned with peer-reviews. Authors are expected to make amendments where appropriate.

It is expected that author/s will provide a conclusion (brief conclusion that makes links to both the SDGs in focus and the overall aims of the book).

Full book submitted to publisher (anticipated) in December 2022


  • Please submit your chapter abstract to the three editors via email with a subject line “STEAM and SDGs in ECE”.


Bers, M. U. (2020). Coding as a playground: Programming and computational thinking in the early childhood classroom. Routledge.

Fleer, M. (2019). Scientific Playworlds: A model of teaching science in play-based settings. Research in Science Education, 49(5), 1257–1278.  

Heckman, J. J. (2011). The economics of inequality: The value of early childhood education. American Educator, 35(1), 31-35.

Kewalramani, S., Kidman, G., & Palaiologou, I. (2021). Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) interfaced robotic toys in early childhood settings: A pedagogy for children’s inquiry literacy. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 29(5).

Marsh, J. (2017). The Internet of Toys: A posthuman and multimodal analysis of connected play. Teachers College Record, 119(15).

United Nations. (2015). Sustainable Development Goals. /education/  

Yang, W. (2021). Glocalisation, digitalisation and curriculum hybridisation. Research Intelligence, 148(3), 24-25.

Yang, W., Xu, P., Liu, H., & Li, H. (2020). Neoliberalism and sociocultural specificities: a discourse analysis of early childhood curriculum policies in Australia, China, New Zealand, and Singapore. Early Child Development and Care, 1-17.

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