Children are born with an innate sense of curiosity and exploration. Think about all your child has learned from birth… shaking a rattle that makes noise, crawling, talking, walking and running. Children learn what they like and don’t like at an early age based on their experiences. For example, maybe they learned quickly that the mound of dirt in the backyard is not just dirt, but a home for ants…OUCH! It may take them a few times of stepping on that ant pile to realize they want to stay away. This way of learning is very natural for children. As parents you can nurture this exploration in your child.
Science begins at home through communication. Before your child can even talk, point out things like the sun shining outside or the clouds in the sky. In the fall, show your child the color of the leaves on the trees and how they change from the summer to the fall. Parents do not need to have content specific vocabulary for describing what is going on around them. Children will still make connections between what they are seeing in the world and their classroom.
Here are just a few suggestions from National Science Teachers Association:
5 Suggestions to Nurture Scientific Exploration
1. See Science Everywhere– find an opportunity to ask, “What would happen if…?”
2. Lead Family Discussions on Science-Related Topics– Use dinnertime as a time to discuss science based news stories. Google News has an excellent section to find interesting stories on science.
3. Encourage Girls and Boys Equally– girls need to be challenged to find solutions to a problem. Emphasis science with both your son and daughter.
4. Do Science Together– simple at home investigations, including every day activities like cooking, can show changes of matter. When you participate with your child it shows you have an interest in science too.
5. Become Active in Your Children’s Formal Education by Getting to Know the Teacher and the Curriculum– participate in your child’s science education program. Always ask questions about what they are doing at school and in the classroom.
Additional resources for guiding your child’s science education can be found at the NSTA website. Happy Exploring!
What additional questions do you have about nurturing your child’s scientific exploration? Ask your questions in the comment section below.
Written by Kara Conway