Science is an area that fascinates young children. Children, by nature, are inquisitive and full of awe and wonder about the world around them. As adults, we should take advantage of this innate curiosity and start channelling children’s enthusiasm for scientific discovery as early on as possible. In this blog, we will explore some of the reasons why science is so important in the early years.
It fosters a lifelong love of science
Children, even babies, are programmed to explore and experiment. By harnessing their natural curiosity, we can nurture and establish a positive approach to science education that will stay with them as they grow. Research has indicated that in the upcoming decade, an estimated 75 percent of jobs in growing industries will require Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. As a result, we can now see a strong emphasis being placed on STEM education in preschools and schools. Creating exciting and intriguing science experiments in early childhood education will inspire children to want to learn more, thus making them more likely to later explore this area independently.
It supports the development of life skills
Science is important for children because of its relevance in their day to day lives and it helps children develop many vital skills and attributes. These include problem solving skills, communication skills, collaborative skills, team working and critical thinking skills. These skills help children generate ideas, make decisions and use evidences to formulate their understanding. Moreover, a lot of the time, science experiments do not happen immediately and it teaches children to be patient and to persevere. Critical thinking cultivates children’s curiosity and is essential to developing their problem solving. It also allows children to find meaning in their own learning and helps them make real-world connections to the world around them.
It gives a basic grounding in scientific concepts and scientific thinking
Even the very simplest activities help introduce children to scientific concepts and encourages scientific thinking. By encouraging and tapping into children’s natural curiosity, early years educators and parents can help children begin to make sense of the world around them, while gaining an understanding of how things work.
While exploring science with young children, here are our top two advices.
The process is so much more important than the result:
While it is important for children to gain some scientific understanding, finding the right answer isn’t our topmost objective. Our main goal should be to channel children’s curiosity and foster their investigative skills.
Be open to child-led discovery:
While organizing specific activities and experiment is important, it is just as important to look out for spontaneous opportunities for scientific discovery. Encourage children to always experiment, ask questions and allow them to share their feedback.
As we move further into the 21st century, high quality science education for all children is a global priority. Preschoolers of today will need to be proficient in science and technology to take on the careers of tomorrow.