This reading was interesting and it had many useful ideas for encouraging scientific learning in an early childhood centre. The first point that I got from the reading was “Seeing an early childhood environment through science eyes” (Backshall, 2000, p. 12) It means providing an environment with many opportunities for children to stimulate their physical worlds is important. This creates appreciation of science that can lead to the development of curiosity and ideas and children would gain scientific knowledge through the process of inquiry and experimentation.
The second point was “foster curiosity and develop language and conceptual ideas” (Backshall, 2000, p.3). This may mean that providing children with scientific language related to the experiences they are involved in is important. Infants and toddlers are natural scientist so they are capable of manipulating objects around them. However, some of children’s language skills were not developed so they need someone to guide and explain. Through explaining or talking with children, I am able to find out how much the child already know and what concept does the child interest in. As a teacher, I should foster children’s curiosity and develop language and conceptual ideas for children to gain scientific knowledge.
I have two key points from this reading. The first idea was that “children will focus on the everyday in ways that adults are not likely to consider”. This is because “what is significant to children may well be quite different” and children’s questions are usually based on the limited knowledge so children’s questions are usually complex and cannot easy to be answered. Therefore teachers need to be prepared for these questions and we have to have the knowledge to guide children in the right way.
Another idea was that the teachers must be flexible in our planning to control the children’s interests. This is because children think different way with adults so if the teacher plan based on children’s interest, they would explore their ideas, learn more and the teachers, we can expand children’s ideas using their questions.
According to Alward, Nourot, Scales, & Van Hoorn, “We believe the goal of science education for early childhood education is to encourage and support these dispositions”, which mean from the reading is “curiosity” and “a desire to critically assess the validity of anwers” (Alward, Nourot, Scales, & Van Hoorn, 1999).It says that, it is important that teachers’ supporting of children’s scientific play and curiosity in early childhood centers, because this is a teachers’ role when they teach science in the classroom. Also young children’s scientific interests and curiosities show the children’s understanding so they are deserve to get our attention and respect (Alward, Nourot, Scales, & Van Hoorn, 1999). We can give our attention and respect to children through give more learning opportunities with more questions and recommendations.
This reading also said “Children learn science content within an organized framework of scientific concepts, and through their involvement in the processes of science” (Alward, Nourot, Scales, & Van Hoorn, 1999). This shows that scientific processes, concepts and content are important for building children’s understanding and foundations for future learning. Therefore, teachers must observe children’s play carefully in each processes and we need to know how much children understand about the concepts and contents. Also according to reading, In a balanced science curriculum that is play-centered, the particular scientific content, concepts, and processes that children explore at any moment are expressions of the children’s own curiosity, interest, and creativity” (Alward, Nourot, Scales, & Van Hoorn, 1999).
According to Chalufour reading, it tells the importance of having Pedagogical Science Knowledge (PKS) including both understanding of science concepts, and of children and how they learn. Chalfour says the knowledge of children and how children learn are also important, as these are also the parts of pedagogical science knowledge. Accoring to Chalfour reading, teachers must have an understanding of how children learn in order to teach science so at the first; teachers should introduce the content at an adult level and then “translate this knowledge to appropriated content” for young children. Also, Chalufour says that “hand-on, inquiry-based investigation” is for both adults’ and children’s learning. It offers the opportunity to encourage teachers’ confidence in both learning and teaching science so in order to teach science effectively, teachers should have pedagogical science knowledge and confident in their own abilities to engage in science.
The goal of science is to understand the natural world through a process known as scientific inquiry (Worth, 2010). Scientific inquiry provides the opportunity to develop a range of skills such as exploration, working with others and sharing and discussing ideas. According to George Forman, children do not learn from experience, they learn from their reflection on experience. This quote shows the importance of discussing and representing ideas and truly these encourage children to think deeply about their experience. According to Worth (2010), Children are naturally scientist. “Their curiosity and need to make the world a more predictable place certainly drives them to explore and draw conclusions and theories from their experiences”. (Worth, 2010) But left to themselves, they are not quite natural scientist. Children need guidance or teacher, who is comfortable with science, have wide science background and confidence in her abilities to teach science to children. The teacher role is important as her questions and comments could draw the children’s attention and curiosity to the activity.