Author Archives: Peggy Ashbrook

Sound inquiry–open exploration and direct teaching?






As early childhood educators, no matter what program we teach in or administer, we want to help children build knowledge of the world through experiences, teacher-supported investigations, and direct teaching. A conversation I had recently with a teacher made me think about how we balance direct teaching with open exploration: Teacher: So, as I thought […]

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Using museums, the community and playfulness to bring STEM concepts to life






Please welcome guest blogger, Brooke Shoemaker, who brings her museum education expertise to The Early Years blog. Brooke was a pre-k classroom educator at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) in Washington, D.C. for four years, before joining SEEC’s outreach arm, the Center for Innovation in Early Learning as the Pre-K Museum Education Specialist. You can read […]

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Looking for free resources and finding many worthy webinars and articles






It is always a thrill to meet the authors who have written the articles in Science and Children that I’ve found so helpful, and useful enough to share. At the Elementary Extravaganza event at the 2016 NSTA national conference in Nashville I met Joseph Robinson, author of “How We Know What We Know: Cultivating scientific […]

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Meeting with others about early childhood STEM education–at a conference, at the White House






The powerful learning that comes of getting together with others who are interested in the same topic can lead to action that increases opportunities for all children to engage in science and engineering explorations. Let’s not leave out using technology and mathematics since these areas of learning are so intertwined with the S and E […]

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Science with infants, toddlers and preschoolers






In the March 2016 Rocking and Rolling column in Young Children, “Sharing the Wonder Science With Infants and Toddlers,” Emily J. Adams and Rebecca Parlakian write, “For infants and toddlers, [science] is a process of exploration and discovery.” The column discusses how, through scientifc inquiry, children can develop skills across all domains of development and […]

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Early Childhood at the NSTA 2016 national conference: Elementary Extravaganza and more!






When I search any conference schedule to choose sessions to attend I am always suspicious of those that are listed as for PreK-12. I am delighted that the NSTA 2016 national conference coming up next week in Nashville has many sessions focused on early childhood years, preschool through grade 2. I will have to make […]

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Are children wondering about dirt (soil)?






When children work with soil (or dirt as they most often call it), they rarely question where it comes from. Soil, sky, water…they just are. But when they view soil as one component of a garden, one part of the system for growing plants, they may gain enough experience with it to begin classifying it […]

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Gardening: with limitations and some success

children transplanting pea plants






When the preschool moved, the new location presented many obstacles to gardening with children: Sloping ground. Mature trees shading much of the area. English ivy covered portions of the available area. The play area had not yet been constructed so the choice of “where” could not be made. I turned to the resources of the […]

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Reading aloud, asking questions and engaging in discussion






“Do you remember Moomintroll?” my sister asked me recently. Moomintroll, a beloved Finnish character from the works of artist and author Tove Jansson, was introduced to us in an unusual picture book sent to our family by our aunt Kitty. The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My had a differently shaped hole cut in each […]

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Beetles before butterflies






To prepare children to be close observers of the small animals that will be more easily seen in spring, I bring a container-habitat of beetles into the classroom during winter months. These Tenebrio beetles and larvae (widely known as “mealworms” although they are not worms) will live in the container, not colonize your classroom. Beetles […]

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