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Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement

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Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

The newly issued NSTA [url=]Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement[/url] is online and in the [url=]February 2014[/url] issue of [i]Science and Children[/i]. It was inspired by the clamor of early childhood educators looking for guidance informed by research on how to approach science teaching in the preschool years (ages 3-5) before kindergarten. This position statement complements the position statement on elementary science education adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors in July 2002. I am very happy with the thoughtful guidance of the position statement: It “… affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them and lay the foundation for a progression of science learning in K–12 settings and throughout their entire lives.” It supports early childhood educators who seek to honor young children’s “capacity for constructing conceptual learning and the ability to use the practices of reasoning and inquiry” at a developmentally appropriate level. Early childhood educators are urged to “take advantage of what children do as part of their everyday life prior to entering formal school settings [because] these skills and abilities can provide helpful starting points for developing scientific reasoning.” NSTA identifies six key principals to guide the learning of science by young children. In addition, declarations and recommendations further identify the following, among others, as critical for high quality science learning environments: the nurturing of young children’s curiosity; the understanding that everyday play is part of science learning; and supportive educators who are prepared to carefully plan open-ended, inquiry-based explorations. Many thanks to Cindy Workosky, NSTA Communications Specialist, who spearheaded the effort and the NSTA panel members who wrote the Early Childhood Science position statement, Susan Catapano (Chair), Peggy Carlisle, Christine Chaille, Ingrid Chalufour, Linda Froschauer, Rochel Gelman, Julie McGough, William C. Ritz, Jennifer S. Thompson, and Karen Worth. And to the NSTA Board of Directors for their forward-thinking action in adopting the work of the panel. The position statement is a document that will inform my teaching practice and writing. It reminds me to intentionally prepare the environment and experiences to allow children to fully engage with the materials, and provide time to talk about those experiences. I can share it with the program directors and school principals I work with to help them understand that science and engineering learning begins in the early years before kindergarten, when children are given multiple opportunities to engage in science exploration and experiences through inquiry. It will guide programs, school districts and states as they write new early childhood science standards and curriculum. How it will support and possibly change your teaching?

Yagaira Gonzalez Yagaira Gonzalez 1635 Points

Thank you for posting. Very interesting.

Marissa Garcia Marissa Garcia 1620 Points

Thank you for posting this! Very interesting!!

Ana C Rodarte Ana C Rodarte 2020 Points

Thank you for posting. This truly has brought in a new perspective for when I teach enter my classroom. I have always heard and known that promoting curiosity among our students is ideal, but to see a report that factually proves the idea is genuine. Thank You once again.

Cinthia Rodriguez Cinthia Rodriguez 4505 Points

This was interesting and informative to read about, thanks for the post.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Peggy, Thank you for posting this. I needed it as an introduction to a PreK-2 online course I am developing for teachers. Betty

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

Glad to hear it will be useful! The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has an Early Childhood Science Interest Forum (ECSIF) and we are quite active. See the ECSIF blog and Facebook page for this group which has many members with dual NAEYC and NSTA membership. These social media pages, along with the NSTA's Early Years blog (which I write), welcome all--preservice and veteran teachers, educators from informal settings, parents, administration...And for NSTA members, there is now an early childhood email listserv. When there is discussion on these sites, we all learn.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points


I am hoping that the NAEYC science documents. as well as Early Childhood Science Education Position Statementwill be used to develop standards that make sense for young children.

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Peggy, Outstanding information! Thank you for sharing your time and passion, very much appreciated. Through NSTA's forums and journal articles I am hoping we can spark our early childhood educators to embrace the excitement that science can bring into our classrooms, Enjoy your day, Alyce

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

The Massachusetts Pre-K Science and Technology/Engineering Standards are written to align with the NGSS, and are developmentally appropriate.
See Cindy Hoisington's post, On Our Minds, on the NAEYC blog about the development of the NSTA position statement. She and others introduced the statement and the MA standards at the November 2013 NAEYC conference. Can anyone tell us about other state early learning standards that are so closely aligned?

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1490 Points

We are really looking forward to more work with NAEYC and to projects within the association that emphasize developmentally appropriate practice and publications at this level. One key will be to reach out to parents; we haven't done as much of that as we should, but will be exploring ways to do so in the next few months.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

That is great Juliana, preschool parents often tell me how excited they are when their child 'does' science. Getting that excitement to become advocating for science instruction in elementary schools is a challenge. Some of my alum parents tell me that their children had higher level science exploration in preschool than they do in elementary school. I see that the NSTA e-newsletter, 'Scientific Principals,' has a section on involving parents but these are usually activities to try at home rather than ways to advocate for, or support, effective science instruction in the schools. I wonder if the Association for Elementary School Principals, or other professional organization, is involved with NSTA.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points

Hi Juliana and Peggy, I am very excited because yesterday, our Early Childhood director took part in a WONDERFUL professional learning experience with Carla Zembal-Saul and her team. Our Vermont Early Learning Standards are being revised to mesh with NAEYC, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. I am really beginning to see movement towards complete alignment. This is all okay as long we also remember that "play is a child's work" and learning is fun! Kathy

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points

I'm very excited we are not forgetting early childhood educators. The opportunities they create for young children lay the foundation for later science understanding. Two colleagues and myself are offering a two part webinar series early childhood educators with the first one on October 29th. The first webinar is an overview and it puts forth the principles of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and an introduction to NGSS. The 2nd webinar which will follow in November will focus more on the classroom implication of NGSS for early childhood educators. After the webinars I will share the presentation. Kathy

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

Hi Kathy, are these webinars open to the public? Peggy

Brooke Raney Brooke Raney 1485 Points

Thanks for sharing!

Teague Rab Teague Rab 1050 Points

thank you for sharing

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

During the Week of the Young Child, April 12-18, 2015, a free webinar from NSTA, “STEM Starts Early: Guidance and support from the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement,” will take you through the position statement, and its key research-based principles that inform and guide science teaching and learning in the early years. The Early Childhood Science Education position statement, written and adopted by NSTA and endorsed by NAEYC, is a very useful tool for planning a science curriculum for children ages 3-5. Have you read it yet? The principles and declarations offer practical guidance for all early childhood programs, providers, teachers, program directors and principals. The interactive webinar presentation will include stories from real classrooms and samples of classroom video for analysis and discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the position statement's recommendations for: --Teaching-creating an environment and facilitating explorations that support children’s collaborative inquiry in physical, life, and earth science, --Professional development-providing experiences for teachers and education providers that really build their capacity to promote young children’s science learning and inquiry, --Policy-committing resources to support early childhood science education. Register here: Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Time: 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT / 4:30 p.m. MT / 3:30 p.m. PT Duration: 90 minutes (Never did a webinar before? New users should log in 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for an introduction to NSTA web seminars.)

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

The web seminar getting into the Early Childhood Science Education Position statement is happening today! Free registration! Can't wait to hear the presenters, Linda Froschauer, Beth Van Meeteren and Cindy Hoisington, and discuss the implecations for my classroom. Details Title: STEM Starts Early: Guidance and support from the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement Target audience: Primarily educators of children ages 3 through preschool. This would include day care, Head Start, and prekindergarten programs in public and private settings as well as parents. Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Time: 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT / 4:30 p.m. MT / 3:30 p.m. PT Duration: 90 minutes Note: New users should log in 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for an introduction to NSTA web seminars.

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