When we think of science as being quantum physics, biodiversity, and directional solidification of metals, it does seem that science is not for 3 and 4-year-old children. But scientists who research those topics began as preschoolers who were interested in the way objects moved, tried to figure out what light is, stopped to look at every small creature, planted a seed, and were the first ones to the cooking table.
Observe your students and find out what phenomena or topic interests them. Think of ways children can have hands-on experiences that may develop into deeper explorations when you connect activities about the same phenomena or topic. And, of course, listen to children’s ideas about what they experience and ask open-ended questions to support their further thinking.
You can ask them, “What do you think [happened…it is…will happen next]? and what is your evidence, why do you think that?”
As Barbara Lehn says in What is a Scientist?, “Scientists have fun.”
Here are some resources that may be helpful:
Science and Children, “The Early Years” column in the NSTA’s elementary school journal, with activities and resource suggestions. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) [url=http://www.nsta.org]www.nsta.org[/url] publishes journals for teachers at all levels, including elementary, with feature articles, book and technology reviews, and many descriptions of lesson plans. Some of the Early Years columns are available online to non-members at no cost in the NSTA Learning Center [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/default.aspx]http://learningcenter.nsta.org/default.aspx[/url] if one follows these steps:
create a free account
use the "advanced search" option
search for "early years" as a keyword and "ashbrook" as author, and "free" as cost.
The National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) position statement on Early Childhood Science Education—endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2014). [url=http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/earlychildhood.aspx]http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/earlychildhood.aspx[/url]
Early childhood science communities open to all.
NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum, [url=https://www.facebook.com/pages/Early-Childhood-Science-Interest-Forum-naeyc/140431919391071]https://www.facebook.com/pages/Early-Childhood-Science-Interest-Forum-naeyc/140431919391071[/url] , [url=https://www.pinterest.com/ecsif/]https://www.pinterest.com/ecsif[/url][url=https://www.pinterest.com/ecsif/]/[/url] , [url=http://member-forums.naeyc.org/]http://member-forums.naeyc.org[/url][url=http://member-forums.naeyc.org/]/[/url] , [url=http://ecsif.blogspot.com/]http://ecsif.blogspot.com[/url][url=http://ecsif.blogspot.com/]/[/url]
NSTA Learning Center Early Childhood Forum, [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/default.aspx]http://learningcenter.nsta.org/default.aspx[/url]
About the nature of science
Understanding Science 101, [url=http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/intro_01]http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/intro_01[/url]
About early childhood science education
Early Childhood Research and Practice, Collected Papers from the SEED (STEM in Early Education and Development) Conference, 2010. [url=http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/beyond/seed/index.html]http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/beyond/seed/index.html[/url]
Lab Out Loud, Karen Worth Episode 108 – Science in Early Childhood Education, February 23, 2014
Peep and the Big Wide World science curriculum, [url=http://peepandthebigwideworld.com/en/educators/]http://peepandthebigwideworld.com/en/educators/[/url] Regent’s Center at the University of Northern Iowa, [url=http://www.uni.edu/rampsandpathways/]http://www.uni.edu/rampsandpathways/[/url]
Starting with Science by Marcia Talhelm Edson. 2013. Stenhouse Publishers.
What Is A Scientist? by Barbara Lehn, with wonderful photos by Carol Krauss. 1998. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.
Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools by Karen Worth and Sharon Grollman. 2003. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Clearly describes the characteristics of a high-quality early-childhood science program and teacher—what we can strive for. Highlights (through vignettes) the work of classroom teachers that relay core ideas in life, physical, and earth and space sciences. Emphasis on doing in-depth exploration of a topic over time.
The Young Scientist Series (Nature, Building, Water) by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth. 2004. Redleaf Press.
Published by the National Academy Press and available online
From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development