Category Archives: Early Years

Tips and classroom resources for early childhood school science educators. Click on a headline to read the entire post.

Expanding understanding, resources for discussions about gender






Young children’s imaginative play often includes creating family groups with toy animals or dolls, and role-playing with housekeeping and dress-up materials. They recreate the relationships they experience or know of from books and other media. As a “mother dog,” a child will tell the “puppies” to follow her. Children who behave out of character, such […]

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K-5 and the Next Generation Science Standards – Webinars






The free webinars by National Science Teachers Association experts, Carla Zembal-Saul, Mary Starr, and Kathy Renfrew, will guide us to a deeper understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Read more about them and register to attend here.  July 22Teaching NGSS in K-5: Constructing Explanations from Evidence July 29Teaching NGSS in K-5: Teaching NGSS in K-5: […]

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Summer weather events and patterns






If you haven’t been tracking weather events with the children in your summer and year-round programs, they are missing an opportunity to make observations and learn about collecting data. Some regions have more of the same every day, some experience severe weather. Variations in temperature, cloud cover, wind and precipitation can be observed between morning […]

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Exploring the properties of clay






Finding bits of clay pottery made and discarded by people hundreds of years ago reminds me of how this useful material can be a valuable addition to a preschooler’s experience. Of the earth but not commonly found on playgrounds, clay could be regularly provided in a bin for sensory experiences or building material. It can […]

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Garden observations and questions






Gardening with children may turn up questions voiced by the children or suggested by their behavior. As you observe children in the garden or a natural area, take a few notes about what they look at or touch. Model how you wonder about a phenomenon in the garden by saying it aloud, such as, “Is […]

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Ecosystem experiences away from home

For children who visit the ocean beach or shore this summer, the experience of visiting a very different ecosystem can inspire interest in animals that inhabit it, and wonder about “how did it get this way?” Children who experience the beach and shore ecosystems frequently may have a similar reaction when visiting other ecosystems. How […]

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Systems: “Science Areas” and lining-up for transitions






Organizing systems for materials and people are necessary for a productive day in school. If they are held in common by the school or classroom community they operate smoothly. Sometimes changes made by an individual interrupt the flow. In those moments we can re-consider our systems and decide whether to keep the changes or return […]

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Webinars for K-5 on teaching the NGSS: making sense of phenomena using evidence






The National Science Teachers Association’s Web Seminars are free, 90-minute, live professional development experiences. Next Generation Science Standards (K-12)(NGSS) were written to include early childhood, beginning in Kindergarten. To learn more about aspects of the NGSS such as, constructing explanations from evidence, making meaning through discourse, and planning a coherent storyline that guides both the teacher […]

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Building with Blocks: Exploring stability and change in systems






In my neighborhood, flowing rainwater from rooftops and yards is making a small gully in the hillside before it runs into the street and goes into the storm sewer. The hillside used to be just a grassy slope. As the original bare patch deepened, roots and rocks became visible in the soil. I wondered what […]

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Ideas from visiting another classroom






Visiting other schools always makes me think about classroom organization, I get new ideas about how to document children’s learning, and gets me thinking about changes I want to implement in my teaching. Changes in weather often lead to changes in activities and we begin favorite spring investigations and look for new ways to explore […]

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