In early childhood settings, learning about science happens every day. Children’s natural curiosity leads young minds into wondering, exploring and learning opportunities. When educators show excitement and support in children’s ideas and query, a scientific journey starts developing effortlessly.
- When children get involved in gardening activities they learn how to care and nurture.
- Children learn many life skills when caring for animals, therefore pets are a wonderful source for science skills.
- Developing an understanding of their bodies provides opportunities to explore and learn about themselves during daily routines.
- Riding a bike, children of all ages can investigate the movements of objects and learn about forces and so on …
At Piptree Sunnybank Hills, we asked all our lead educators to provide a wide range of science activities during National Science Week (12-20.8.2017). Children and educators together observe, ask questions, research and solve problems, investigate, interpret and develop science skills. It is important to incorporate intentional teaching into everyday practices. Intentional teaching encourages children to explore through open-ended materials and teach children about the basic concept of science and its terminology with specific science goals in mind. Educators’ role is to positively encourage participation in science experiences and demonstrate an interest in connecting with children’s excitement by providing scientific resources and materials for further investigation.
Here are some science projects and activities children and educators were involved in the last couple of weeks at our service:
- Pips (6 weeks-2y) – Experienced cause and effect by providing a range of equipment that can move. Little Kiavash was very keen and willing to learn about forces and movements.
- Sprouts 1 (15 months-2y) – We set up music instruments for children to engage in learning how to make sounds. We did this by teaching them how to bang on the drums, strum the guitar and play the xylophone. Toddlers like to listen as well as play the instruments themselves. They enjoyed this activity. They will often start singing to themselves while they are involved in other play activities. Songs and playing instruments are good forms of self-expression; it encourages imaginative substitution through pretend play and dramatic play.
- Sprouts 2 (15 months – 2y) – Toddlers were engaged in a “sensory blocks” activity at the table. During this activity, some of the children might prefer to shake the block around whilst looking inside whereas some children might prefer to just simply look at the colourful materials inside of the block. All of the children loved being a part of this development activity and they all happily participated.
- Buds (2-3y) – Children were offered cups of different substances and opportunities to use their senses – sight, taste, smell hearing and touch. They developed a deeper understanding of different and same by exploring it through play. Making strawberry jelly children in Blossom 1 (3-4) Room were involved in the process of measuring and mixing. They observed the chemical change in texture and liquid turning into a solid mass. Cooking experiences are enjoyable, tasty and meaningful and provide opportunities for discussions.
- Blossom 2 (3-5y) – We provided mirrors for children to explore their facial features and paper and pencils for drawing. Children were looking at their teeth and exploring themselves in the mirror. They were talking about facial expressions, who is funny, and who looks happy. Children were developing knowledge about self-identities and self-awareness.
- Poppies (4-5y) – Children experimented with water and its change with high temperature. What happens to water when it boils? What is that coming out the kettle? What happens when we have a bath or shower? Does the window or shower fog up? Where does the steam go? The children learned about vapour, condensation, evaporation. We experimented with boiling water, The children noticed the steam and we captured some in a mirror where we could quickly draw something on it before it turned into droplets.