Parents and educators urged to see the science in the everyday

Media release
02 June 2014
Science education for pre schoolers

Science is all around us in the everyday and parents and early  childhood educators are being urged to join the journey and explore it  with young children.

Deakin University Associate Professor Coral Campbell took  to her message "science is in the everyday" to the profession last week  showing early childhood educators at the Together We Grow conference  how they could develop young children's scientific understanding.

Educators tapped into their inner child and literally got their  fingers wet and coated in plasticine as they explored why a paperclip  sinks when you drop it into a tank of water yet can also float, minus  the aid of a boat.

The successful session built on a popular 'lecture' Associate  Professor Campbell delivered earlier this month to the Anglican Early  childhood Conference, where theory was mixed with activity to bring out  the science in the everyday.

"What we have to remember is that children start to explore their  world from the time they are born," Associate Professor Campbell said.

"It is natural for them to want to seek answers to their questions or puzzles about the world around them."

Associate Professor Campbell, who with other academics at Deakin University's Science Technology and Environmental Education group  is working to improve science literacy among teachers, those entering  the profession and students,  said parents and educators might see  children playing with paint, mixing different textures together.

"Mixing paint is a preliminary science concept "Coloured lights and  paints can mix to form other colours' which fits into the science area  of the physics of light .

"Many children also throw things into the water and observe some  things float while others sink.  They conclude heavy things sink.

"Yet as educators we need to help them see that this conclusion is limited and are explanations are also applicable ".

"Without going into the rules of density we can help them see that it  is the material something is made of that makes it float or not, or its  shape, or any number of other explanations. A fish can be said to be  floating in water even if it is not on the surface"

Associate Professor Campbell encouraged parents to join the journey with early childhood educators.

"We know many educators come from a humanities base and are timid  with science and parents may share the same apprehension and wish to  leave 'teaching' science understanding to the experts.

"But the impact parents have on their child's learning is really significant.

"Science is about developing the skills we see young children  exhibiting from birth, enquiring, problem solving, asking questions and  reasoning out what something means – it is not just about knowing  content."

"This is something educators and parents can develop."

Further information:

Video - An edited extract of Associate Professor Campbell's speech

Activities for parents and educators

Book for educators

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Teachers from Spring Gully Kinder in Bendigo take a floating straw and make it sink Teachers from Spring Gully Kinder in Bendigo take a floating straw and make it sink

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