For young learners, science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore through play because they do it naturally.
The myth is that we have to convince children that science is fun. Are you kidding? Science has always been fun for children… if it’s presented in the right way.
When people say they don’t like science, it’s most likely because of the bad experience they had as a child. It was an EXPERIENCE that shaped their negative opinion. That’s why it’s so important to focus on working with early childhood educators to learn how to create amazing experiences that encourage discovery through play, asking questions, exploration and using creativity to solve simple problems. It’s next to impossible to erase bad experiences. On the flip side, amazing experiences turn into unforgettable learning experiences that can inspire and motivate children to want to learn and explore more on their own.
When it comes to teaching science, early childhood educators have a tremendous impact and influence on shaping the thoughts and opinions of children. Research shows that most children have formed an opinion (either positive or negative) about science by the time they reach the age of 7. That puts a tremendous amount of responsibility on early childhood professionals. Teaching science is not an option for the early childhood educator… it’s a MUST! We, as teachers have the opportunity to create amazing experiences that will have a lasting impact on our students throughout their entire school experience.
Our actions today in the area of early childhood science education will have a more significant impact on growing next-generation scientists. Early childhood educators have far more impact and influence on a child’s potential to seek out a career in science or engineering than any other grade level.
If a teacher has information, the learner will use you and discard you. If the teacher knows, the student will call upon you only when they need you. However, if what you have is wisdom, the learner will respect you forever. Impact and influence are built on respect. If we’re going to have a profound effect on the way our children view science, we need to earn their respect. Moreover, it all starts with creating unforgettable learning experiences that never lose the element of fun.
By Steve Spangler