Importance of teaching science in early childhood promoted by NSTA President Alan McCormack

Young children in science activity.Use of science tools can begin in early childhood.For any who did not get a chance to read the wonderfully supportive statement by the National Science Teachers Association president, Alan McCormack in the 12/7/10 NSTA Reports It’s Time for More Early Childhood Science, take a look and then make a copy for your director, principal, and superintendant. You might want to post it or quote from it in a note home to your students’ families. Let them know that it is not only early childhood educators who believe that “We need to help kids begin their magnificent journey into science as early in life as possible.” Teachers in middle and high school want their students to come to class having had many experiences with the natural world.

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4 Responses to Importance of teaching science in early childhood promoted by NSTA President Alan McCormack

  1. MaryB says:

    The blog “Not Exactly Rocket Science” describes an interesting study involving younger children and their explorations: When teaching restrains discovery,

  2. Peggy Ashbrook says:

    Thanks for that interesting blog link Mary. As a preschool teacher I generally fall somewhere between the two “camps” described as the extreme positions by Ed Yong. “One camp believes that children learn mostly through teaching and direct instruction. The other says that children learn mostly by exploring and figuring things out for themselves. To them, formal instruction is too passive, and makes for children that receive knowledge without engaging with it. On the other hand, people who favour more direct teaching argue that children need more guidance. Leaving them to explore on their own, through so-called “discovery learning”, is inefficient and ineffective.”
    But I run into the difficulty of teaching-restraining-discovery all the time when teaching an art and science class to kindergarteners through second graders. (It could be that they have already accepted a “do it the teacher’s way” stance.) To demonstrate the technique of crayon resist, I draw a picture or pattern with crayon and then cover with a watercolor wash. Invariably some of the children will choose to make the same images for their work. It’s a short class, only two weeks long, so there isn’t enough time for them to discover a lot about the various art media through their own explorations….or maybe there is. I’ll have to offer a different class next time—Art and Science: what can you do and why does that happen?

  3. MaryB says:

    Your comments always make me think. The connections between art and science are fascinating. I can see two strands: the science of art…and the art of science. Sounds like a great conversation to have over a few cups of coffee!

  4. MaryAnn Kohl’s book “Science Arts” could help launch your discussion and the class.

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