Great news! You don’t need to be a scientist to teach early childhood science. In fact, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) believes that Early Childhood Educators should think of science as more than a subject and as an approach to learning that can be integrated into other activities.
Science isn’t just about experiments, it’s how we learn to see and understand the world through making connections and understanding and then build on this knowledge. One of the best parts of incorporating science into Early Childhood Education is that younger children are often more willing to take risks and accept mistakes, and learning from failure can help build their confidence and critical thinking skills.
Before children have reached kindergarten, they have already started to build science inquiry skills which helps them become active learners. As such, they require a little more than the sparkle of fancy experiments with smoke and mirrors.
Creating science lessons doesn’t need to involve extra materials and costly items, they can often be created from items found in the centre or around the home and completed during everyday activities.
This week our Eco Learning & Bush Kinder centres took part in some special age-appropriate activities to celebrate Science Week!
The babies had a sensory (and a little bit soggy) time learning that an unpeeled orange or mandarin will float, but the same fruit peeled will sink to the bottom. This is because the skin of the fruit has small pockets of air that allow it to float.
Over with the kindy children, we made edible flubber with water, food colouring and psyllium husk mixed together and heated by an adult in the microwave. Lots of sticky and slimy fun!
Science isn’t just for Science Week at our centres. Our compost and worms farms which are a part of our Eco Philosophy, teach children about nature and ecosystems, and we can’t wait to share future stories about our aquaponics adventures where we produce our own fresh food!
Science can be incorporated into a centres garden, kitchen and all areas of play.
It just takes a little imagination!