Author Archives: Peggy Ashbrook

Is a seed alive? Is a seed magic? Where does a seed come from?

Understanding the complex lives and lifecycles of plants is a lifetime’s worth of work that can begin in early childhood as children feel the texture of seeds dotting a strawberry, watch a maple seed twirling down, or open a sugar snap pea pod to count the seeds inside. In John McCutcheon’s song, “Kindergarten Wall,” a seed-planting […]

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Tinkering: How open-ended should it be in early childhood?

The easy answer to this question is “it depends.” It depends on the reason for providing the experience and the particular materials for young children to use. Of course children often set up their own tinkering experiences using materials at hand and may or may not have a goal in mind. I want all children […]

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April brings “real science,” Citizen Science Day, and Earth Day

Citizen Science Day is April 14, and these projects are a wonderful way for young children to continue their science learning by being part of a larger science effort doing “real science.”  (For the record, I think the observations and thinking young children do is real science, the beginning of making sense of natural phenomena.) One […]

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See photos and get resources from NSTA 2018 Atlanta

I feel recharged and activated after attending a conference and taking a few weeks to reflect and prepare to put the new understandings into practice. Whether or not you attended the 2018 NSTA national conference you can access files uploaded by presenters. Two sources provide information about the 2018 NSTA national conference sessions and presenters: […]

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Is “instant snow” a good model for actual snow?

Children often use ordinary objects to represent other objects—a block might become a phone, or a rock might become a cookie, during their play. This imaginative play means they understand that the “phone” and the “cookie” aren’t real but are chosen because they are very basic models of real objects, in that they have a […]

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Online community on learning science through play

Play may mean many things, but in early childhood education it can include learning science concepts. Looking for resources on “Learning Science Concepts Through Play“? Check the The NSTA Learning Center Early Childhood Forum, a community that includes early childhood educators in all roles in the profession and is free to all with registration.  Looking for resources […]

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What Parents Talk About When They Talk About Learning; A National Survey About Young Children and Science

Guest blogger Cindy Hoisington is an early childhood science educator at Education Development Center Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts. She brings to her work more than 20 years of experience teaching young children, developing educational materials, and instructing and mentoring early childhood teachers. Cindy is a member of the EDC/SRI research team working on the CPB/PBS […]

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Using Science and Children: Appreciating editors’ notes

A colleague mentioned that he has a few recent issues of Science and Children to catch up on. Reading an issue of the journal doesn’t have to be front to back. Like preschoolers making a play plan, educators can make a reading plan so a journal can be useful instead of filling up a “to-do” […]

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Explore, investigate, experiment, and inquire: What do we call it when young children “do” science?

Learning about the natural and human built world begins at birth, if not before. The early childhood years, usually described as including children from birth through age eight, are a time when new experiences build brain connections that form the foundation for later connections.  The way we provide experiences for children may open or close […]

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Farm: animals & a beginning understanding of hereditary

If you were asked to name 10 animals, would an insect be one of them? Many of us, including young children, think of insects as “bugs” that are not really animals. Looking at a pie chart showing estimated proportions of different groups of organisms on Earth today we see  a great diversity and how the […]

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