Draft Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement—comment please!

Children exploring the properties of water.When children compare a wet cloth to a dry cloth, is this teaching a science concept? What role do adults have in preschool science learning? Should teachers discuss science facts with preschoolers or only engage them in hands-on experiences? You may have many more questions about science education for three to five year olds. Read the draft of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Early Childhood Science Position Statement and see if you find some answers.

The NSTA has developed a position statement endorsing the learning of science among young children, particularly those ages 3 through preschool. It states that all children have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore, and discover the world around them and that these basic abilities for science learning can and should be encouraged and supported among children in the earliest years of their lives. The statement also identifies key principles to guide the learning of science among young children.

The position statement was developed by a panel of science teachers and experts in early childhood science education and was approved by the NSTA Board of Directors. NSTA members are invited to review and comment on this important statement before it is adopted. Read the draft statement here and submit your comments. Deadline for feedback is Friday, December 20.

I am delighted to have key principals about science learning by this age group stated for me to reflect on, and apply to my science teaching. You are the expert about your class—will the guidance provided by the NSTA Early Childhood Science Position Statement support your teaching? “NSTA supports the learning of science among young children that will create a seamless transition for learning in elementary school.” The goal of seamless transition to elementary school learning will help early childhood teachers in preschools and early childhood teachers in grades K-2 connect for the benefit of all children.

Read the Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement and then make a statement about it by submitting a comment to NSTA (here) or on this blog as a comment.

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  1. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    It is heartening to have a position statement that reflects what I have observed in my teaching practice—“At an early age, all children have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore, and discover the world around them (NRC 2012). These are basic abilities for science learning that can and should be encouraged and supported among children in the earliest years of their lives. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them and lay the foundation for a progression of science learning in K–12 settings and throughout their entire lives.”

  2. Sarah B. Feitlinger
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I was thrilled to read, and submit a review of, this statement. I am glad that the ball is getting rolling on educating all about the importance of early childhood science. I too have observed much of what is stated in the draft. As an early childhood science teacher for 7 years I have had people ask me incredulously what I actually teach kids who are so young. It is as if some adults don’t understand the capacity of young children. They also don’t understand that there are ways to provide science experiences that do not involve a textbook or high tech equipment. Those of us who have been in this field know this to be true. I believe this is a step in building understanding and appreciation for science in young grades, which will be necessary to increase funding and support for science in the early years. Thank you to people like Peggy Ashbrook, who has been my go-to resource for early childhood science for many years! -Sarah Benton Feitlinger, http://shareitscience.blogspot.com/

  3. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks Sarah,
    The communities of early childhood education and science education are overlapping in more areas every day, moving towards similar goals.
    The NSTA Learning Center’s Early Childhood Forum is another place for us to share our work and questions. http://learningcenter.nsta.org/discuss/default.aspx?fid=ryclPO3p1E8_E

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