1. Science is too complicated
Whilst I think teaching advanced quantum mechanics to 3 year olds might be taking things a little too far, science is all around us and in everything we see and do. Anything is complicated when you look at it in enough detail.
Teaching the basic principles of science including: experimentation, observation, deducing / concluding findings, evidence based approaches, discovery, analysing, questioning, finding out the answers are things that children do naturally.
We need to nurture this in built curiosity and start to hone these skills from an early age. Skills that will be useful in all walks of life whether or not you end up becoming the next Stephen Hawking.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but STEM is the key to unlocking our future success as a nation and it should be our mission to nurture and develop the next generation of Scientists, developers, engineers, medics etc., that can lead the way. That journey can start with early years’ education.
The earlier we can engage our children with these fundamentals and break down the barriers associated with the perception of science, thus turning it into a subject that children are excited about and not fearful of, are interested in not turned off from, are wanting to explore and find out more.
Science in EYFS will get children familiar with concepts, laying strong foundations early on, leading to faster progression at school.
Do not underestimate what children are capable of, do not impose your own limits on them. Expose them to as much as possible and they will surprise you.
2. STEM has to be done in a Lab
Not all scientists wear lab coats & not all Science is done in a Lab.
Whilst it is true, a lot of scientific work is undertaken in a laboratory environment, teaching science to early years can be done anywhere. Finding the magic in everyday items, using kitchen chemistry, forest schools, engineering with Lego (other branded building blocks are also available), the options are limitless…...
Science is so broad; it encompasses everything – it truly is ‘understanding the world’ – or at least trying to! The world is not confined to a lab, so how therefore can you confine science to one?
3. 3 year olds don’t have the attention span
You’re right, 3year olds don’t have the attention span for a traditional classroom setting, but that’s why we need to rethink our vision of science education.
If there’s one thing EYFS educators are great at, that’s creative gamification!
Science through play, games & experimentation – turn an idea / scientific concept into a physical game. Get creative!
4. Science is boring, you can’t make science fun
Is finding out about new things, how things work, why things occur boring?
No, so let’s re-think…..it’s the way science has been taught in the past that was boring, not science itself. Would you have found it boring if you’d played games, made things glow, made things pop, fizz, bang?
It just takes a little more creative thinking and a more modern approach to teaching style to really bring science to life!
5. You need specialist equipment
In some instances, yes – we don’t all have a Van der Graaff generator in our living room, but there is so much you can do with everyday materials – it just takes a bit of creativity!
6. It’s too dangerous
There are risks involved with any experimentation, and the essence is to be responsible and assess the activity as you would with anything you do in the classroom.
If you keep to materials you find around the home, invest in a coverall and some safety goggles, there’s a world of scientific discovery waiting for you!
7. Girls won’t enjoy it as much as boys
If my research has shown me anything, this is utter rubbish. I have equal ratios of boys to girls in all of my Lab Tots classes and I see no gender divide. Exposing all children to science at this age breaks down potential gender stereotypes, before they have even been established.
8. I wasn’t good at Science – I’m not confident - it scares me – how could I teach it?
This is a valid question and your own experience plays a massive part in your future perception. That is where getting some expert advice and guidance may help. Lab Tots can offer consultancy and training to help you and your staff become more confident in STEM education, by offering a number of different services from helping to build your own STEM curriculum, to delivering sessions at your facility.
Pinterest and the internet are full of fantastic ideas at your fingertips – you just need to give it a go!
9. What if I get asked a question and I don’t know the answer? I must have an answer to absolutely every questions / I must have all the answers at my fingertips.
Whilst this is scary and as educators we are looked too, to provide answers, most of science is questioning the unknown, so why do we feel it necessary to know the answer to everything? Surely one of the biggest things we can teach our children is how to go about finding out the answer.
If you don’t know – find out and engage the children in the process.
Some of life’s biggest questions still lie unanswered – this next generation could be the key to unlocking them.
10. What if an experiment doesn’t work, doesn’t go to plan and is a failure?
I have had a number of demos not quite go to plan, and it can feel quite embarrassing at the time. However, most scientists will tell you that if an experiment works, you’ve done something wrong!!
Most of what we know has actually been discovered through failures, so if something doesn’t work, that’s great – learn from it. As long as you learn something, you can never classify it as a failure.
This is a really valuable life experience, so turn your scientific flops into profound life lessons.
For more ideas, or to see how Lab Tots may be able to help your facility enhance and develop your science curriculum and help you to join the STEM revolution, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07720292350. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/labtots.preschool.science