Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

8.2: Guiding Principles for Supporting Science

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    The following principles guide teachers in establishing a preschool science program that fosters children’s curiosity and develops their skills and habits to explore and learn about their world. These principles are consistent with a constructivist approach to learning, where children actively construct knowledge through physical and mental interactions with objects and people in their environment. The principles are drawn from current research-based models and approaches to early childhood science and are consistent with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines on developmentally appropriate practice.

    • The preschool environment supports children’s curiosity and encourages inquiry and experimentation
    • The teacher
      • acts as a researcher, joining children in exploring their world
      • asks open-ended questions to encourage children to think and talk
      • introduces children to new vocabulary, including scientific terms such as observe, explore, predict, and measure
      • demonstrates appropriate use of scientific tools
      • invites children to reason and draw conclusions
      • encourages children to share their observations and communicate their thoughts
      • models respect for nature
    • Content of inquiry is developmentally appropriate and builds on children’s prior experiences
    • Scientific inquiry experiences are interesting and engaging for children and teachers
    • Children explore scientific concepts directly through active, hands-on, minds-on playful experiences
    • Children explore scientific concepts in depth through multiple, related learning experiences over time
    • Children construct knowledge through social interactions with peers and adults
    • Children use language and other forms of communication to express their thoughts, describe observations, and document their work
    • Teachers support children who are English learners in understanding and communicating scientific knowledge and skill
    • Science is embedded in children’s daily activities and play and provides a natural vehicle for integrating mathematics, literacy, and other content areas
    • Individual differences are recognized, and all children are included and supported
    • The preschool environment, home, and community are connected through science[1]


    [1]The California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 3 by the California Department of Education is used with permission

    This page titled 8.2: Guiding Principles for Supporting Science is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jennifer Paris, Kristin Beeve, & Clint Springer.