The Importance of Preschool Science and Nature Exploration
At an early age, preschoolers have the capacity and natural inclinations to explore and discover their world. Being exposed to scientific investigation at a young age can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them. This exploration can lay the foundation for a progression of scientific learning throughout their school years. Science also gives young children the framework to understand the world and answer their most favorite question, “why?”
Exposure to science and nature exploration in early preschool offers many benefits including:
- Helping children develop valuable literacy skills and helps children establish links to the scientific world while reading.
- Learning to ask questions and solve problems – an essential life skill and vital for school learning.
- Teaching children to plan & conduct investigations, gather information, construct an explanation and communicate findings.
- Cementing a lifetime love of science.
Adults play a central and important role in helping young children discover a love of science and nature. Children tend to be naturally curious and learn best through hands-on experiences. This makes it important to focus home activities around things that they can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Most importantly, a parent’s enthusiasm and positive attitude about science will be contagious to a child.
You don’t need to be an expert to help your child learn about science. The following are some simple suggestions that parents may want to do with their children:
- Take your child on a nature walk. Children love to lift up rocks and find worms and insects! Point out unusual plants and leaves. Examine the veins on a large leaf. Point out clouds passing overhead. Discuss the sight and smell of flowers in the garden. Listen to the wind rustling the leaves in the trees.
- Read simple science books and ask your child questions about what they liked best. Books and other materials help children to pull powerful impressions and experiences together in their minds, but the foundation needs to be laid in direct observation and hands-on experiences.
- Children are naturally curious. Provide the opportunity for children to have some simple hands-on science experiments, and take apart simple household gadgets and see how they work.