Learning from the online Early Childhood community

Child rolls a ball along a ramp she built.Do you have colleagues with whom you can share ideas for teaching science and engineering concepts? Do you have resources to develop science lessons? Does your program or district support the science and engineering curriculum that you know is best practice for your students? Sometimes the best support is available online from researchers who investigate how children learn, curriculum designers who use research to carefully plan developmentally appropriate learning experiences, educators who discuss the research and other classroom teachers who use and revise these learning experiences.
This is where blogs, journals, and resource websites can be helpful in becoming knowledgeable about recent research and others’ experiences. Here are two blog posts I found helpful in reflecting on my practice:
Cindy Hoisington, Senior Curriculum/Instructional Design Associate at Education Development Center, Inc, shares her experiences and thoughts on the recent National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) position statement on Early Childhood Science Education in a July post on a National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) blog, “Putting the Position Statement on Early Childhood Science to Work in Preschool Classrooms and Programs.” I share her excitement for NAEYC’s endorsement of the NSTA position statement! This document will help guide my teaching.
Read Cindy’s post, read the NSTA position statement on Early Childhood Science Education, and then respond to Cindy’s question:
How will you put the position statement to work in your classroom or program in the coming school year?
Jeff Winokur, science educator and Instructor of Elementary Education at Wheelock College, and colleague of Cindy’s at EDC, reflected on appropriate early childhood science lessons in a blog post at The Wheelock Blog.
He was inspired to write by a New York Times blog post, “Rethinking the Colorful Kindergarten Classroom” by Jan Hoffman (June 9, 2014) describing a study published in Psychological Science (Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children: When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad, conducted by Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin and Howard Seltman).
I agree with Winokur that solely reading nonfiction about scientific topics is not age-appropriate science learning for kindergartners. And it should not be described as a science lesson. Although I think young children are capable of understanding the idea of a portion of a “crust” sliding under a larger piece, reflecting on their experiences with the earth outside their classroom door (or in a nearby unpaved area) will teach them more about the structure of the Earth and earth science processes. Interesting nonfiction can support this direct learning.
And I am delighted that the question of how to use wall space to support children’s learning is being investigated and hope more studies will follow.  Bulletin boards are often assigned responsibilities for teachers to “fill.” I would like to know what content productively supports my students’ learning before I spend time and money on this task.
The Early Learning Forum at the NSTA Learning Center is another resource. There are vigorous discussions and participants share information and insight–and, it is open to all with free registration. Join in with your questions and advice!

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1 Response to Learning from the online Early Childhood community

  1. Gail Laubenthal says:

    You certainly have given us lots to think about at this time of year. Thanks for sharing these two blog posts. I have already shared this with my friends. Happy hands-on science to all this year!

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