Date of this Version
Published in Early Childhood Education Journal 41 (2013), pp 315–323.
Researchers and practitioners have become increasingly interested in how early childhood programs prepare young children for science. Due to a number of factors, including educators’ low self-efficacy for teaching science and lack of educational resources, many early childhood classrooms do not offer high-quality science experiences for young children. However, high-quality science education has the potential to lay an important foundation for children’s knowledge and interest in science as well as reinforcing and integrating critical language, literacy, and math readiness skills. This paper examines the current research on science in preschool classrooms and provides suggestions on how to teach science that supports children’s development across domains. Using the scientific method to explore science with young children provides a systematic model for engaging children in observation, questioning, predicting, experimenting, summarizing, and sharing results. These processes encourage children’s use of language, literacy, and mathematics skills in authentic ways. Suggestions are provided for teachers to use the scientific method as their guide for generating scientific discovery in their classroom.