Author Archives: Peggy Ashbrook

Experiencing nature–educators make it happen for children and other teachers






Nature play and exploration varies in early childhood (broadly: infant to grade 3) programs and are subject to the local and state licensing regulations, a program’s choice of curriculum, the local environment and weather, and the support of the administration. A conference is an effective way to get a lot of science content knowledge about […]

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Building with blocks, building skills and memories






I still have the wooden unit blocks that were central to many of my childhood play scenarios. The wooden blocks did not stick or snap together so we had to consider balance and how to make a sturdy base to support our structures. They were the materials we used to make models—building beds and shelter […]

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Maple trees and squirrels: a relationship






The Silver maple tree is flowering, early for the season in my region, but right on schedule for the way the season is unfolding this year. Although the flowers are tiny, the details can be seen with a magnifier. When children’s attention is drawn to the small happenings in nature, it contributes to their framework […]

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Big learning from short observations of birds: February 17-20, 2017






Walk outside with your children, watch and count birds for 15 minutes while recording the names of those you know, and report your bird count to be part of a world-wide citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds, creating an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. On any or all of these four […]

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An ECSTEM conference experience






An early childhood education conference is an opportunity to meet others who share a passion for improving our science teaching practice, meet our education mentors and gain new insights into why certain educational practices are effective. It’s a privilege to be able to attend, and fun to experience. It’s also a time to hear about […]

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Weather watching and phenology support using evidence to state a claim






Noticing changes in the growth and habit of plants is part of the science of phenology. We do this casually when we comment on the buds swelling on the maple tree (yay! not as many branches are dead as I feared) or the daffodil leaves sprouting above the soil ( yay! they survived the winter). […]

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A love note to education conferences






In my suitcase I have a collapsible jug, tube, funnel, glitter, pebbles, foam hearts, sea shells, and empty plastic bottles—all part of the materials I need for a presentation at the 2017 ECSTEM conference (February 3-4), organized by The Children’s Center at Caltech, in collaboration with THINK Together. An education conference is a joyful place […]

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Children use technology to send messages






Children like to share their work and tell their families what they do at school or at other times when they are not together. While babysitting for a friend, I appreciated her 2-year-old child’s excitement when she discovered that a toy firetruck had a button to push to turn on (and off) a siren. “Tell […]

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Citizen science + Photos of signs in public spaces = literacy and spatial awareness






If you and the children need to be active to stay warm outdoors in cold temperatures, consider walking fast on a walking field trip to locate and document signs around your community. In the September 2011 issue of Science and Children I wrote about helping children understand what models are by taking a walking field trip to […]

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Seeing the Real Me: Using Loose Parts from Nature to Create Self Portraits






  Guest bloggers Stacey Francois MS, and Hannah Goble presented a poster session at the national conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. I was delighted to be able to talk with them about their work and am pleased to share it here. Welcome Stacey and Hannah! Stacey Francois MS, and […]

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