Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sessions and discussion on science and engineering in early childhood coming up at the NAEYC 2016 conference

Our human communities will thrive if all children become science literate through early experiences, opportunities to reflect on their observations, and access to information and supportive adults. Science literacy is of great importance to members of the NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum (ECSIF) and we are working towards goals to:

• build understanding of the nature of quality science teaching and learning;
• promote public understanding of the importance of inquiry-based science curriculum and appropriate content and an awareness of what young children are capable of doing and learning;
 • provide opportunities for the exchange of effective strategies and quality materials for teaching science;
• identify and provide resources to AEYC Affiliates when they want to plan science-related professional development opportunities or other science-related events;
• support efforts to expand professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators; and
• establish and maintain a collaborative relationship with other professional organizations with similar goals, such as the National Science Teachers Association, the Council for Elementary Science Education, and the Association of Constructivist Teaching.

The 2016 NAEYC annual conference  will be a great place to find sessions on science and engineering education. ECSIF members will be involved in these sessions:

11/2/2016 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM Room 515B Los Angeles Convention Center
Beth Van Meeteren--Ramps and Pathways: A fun integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

11/2/2016 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM Room 515A Los Angeles Convention Center
Cindy Hoisington-- Let's talk about it: Science as a vehicle for promoting English language learning for dual language learners

11/3/2016 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Platinum Ballroom FG, JW Marriott
Peggy Ashbrook, Marie Faust Evitt, Sandy Chilton--Picture science in your classroom: Deepen those fun explorations by connecting with the new standards

11/4/2016 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Diamond Ballroom 1/2, JW Marriott
Zvia Dover, Peggy Ashbrook, Marcia Nell, Deborah Schein-- Science play and spirituality: Children’s deep engagement and learning

ECSIF annual meeting: OPEN TO ALL, November 4th from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm, Atrium 1, JW Marriott. Come discuss your challenges and successes, share resources and investigate with like-minded early childhood educators.

11/5/2016 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM Room 515A, Los Angeles Convention Center
Sonia Yoshizawa, Rebecca Isbell--"My brain is full of ideas!" Unleashing young children's creative thinking in an exciting learning environment

Please add your science and engineering education session as a comment!

Interest forums are open to all NAEYC members and the ECSIF values conversations with ALL--hope you will join us!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Resources for teachers about teaching science and engineering in early childhood

Resources for teachers about teaching science and engineering in early childhood, particularly the science concepts in CEESTEM Ramps and Pathways module using inclined planes.

This is not a complete list—add your favorite resources, and tell why you find them useful, by commenting below!

For learning more about the “Ramps and Pathways” physical science activity developed at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (CEESTEM) in the Regents Center:
¨Methods and Strategies: Science and Literacy Centers by Beth Van Meeteren and Lawrence Escalada. Science and Children. March 2010.
¨Ramps and Pathways: Developmentally Appropriate, Intellectually Rigorous, and Fun Physical Science by Betty Zan and Rosemary Geiken NAEYC journal, Young Children, January 2010.
¨Q&A with the authors of Ramps & Pathways book, Rheta DeVries and Christina Sales
¨Problem Solving and Physics in Preschool by Julie Stoll, Ashley Ann Hamilton, Emilie Oxley, Angela Mitroff Eastmand, and Rachel Brent. 2012. Young Children 67 (2): 20-26
¨Peep and the Big Wide World, Ramps
¨Ramps and Pathways pages. Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education.
Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Science and Math (CEESTEM).
¨Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools by Karen Worth and Sharon Grollman. 2003. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
¨Marvelous Moving Things: Early Childhood Science in Motion by Mary Neises, Lynn Hogue, Beverly Kutsunai, edited by Mickey Sarquis

More on physical science concepts:
Articles in Science and Children:
“Let It Roll: Exploring motion with young children” by Kathy Cabe Trundle and Mandy McCormick Smith. October 2011.
“Science 101, Q: Do Moving Objects “Carry” a Force With Them?” by Bill Robertson. January 2013.

Position statement on early childhood science education—adopted by the National Science Teachers Association in 2013, and endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
NSTA position statement Early Childhood Science Education, for teachers of children ages 3-5,

Force and Motion: Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It by William C. Robertson. 2002. NSTA Press: Arlington, VA. This book is also available as an e-book at

Physical Science Teacher’s Guide by the Center for Informal Science Education at the Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida Marvelous Explorations Through Science and Stories (MESS)and the Office of Head Start. 2010.

Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science, Volume 1: 45 New Force and Motion Assessment Probes by Page Keeley and Rand Harrington. 2010. NSTA Press: Arlington, VA. Order at Read the free chapter and see the Introduction section, “Using the Probes: Curricular and Instructional Considerations,” for guidance on vocabulary use in elementary through high school.

Books to read with children, an incomplete list.
·         Brubaker, Kimberly and Paul Meisel illustrator. 2005. Forces Make Things Move. New York: NY: Harpers’sCollins.
·         Cobb, Vicki and and Julia Gorton. 2004. I Fall Down. HarperCollins.
·         Dahl, Michael. 2006. Roll, slope, and slide: A book about ramps. Picture Window Books.
·         Dodds, Dayle Ann and Thatcher Hurd. 1991. Wheel Away! HarperCollins Children’s.
·         Hoban, Tana. 2000. Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres. Greenwillow Books.
·         Lehn, Barbara, photos by Carol Krauss. What Is A Scientist? 1998. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.
·         Llewellyn, Claire. 2005. And Everyone Shouted, “Pull!” Picture Window Books.
·         Mason, Andrienne. 2005. Move It!: Motion, Forces and You. Kids Can Press.
·         Mayer, Lynne. Newton and Me. 2010. Sylvan Dell Publishing
·         Murphy, Patricia J. 2002. Push and Pull (Rookie Read-About Science). New York: Children’s Press.
·         Stille, By Darlene R., illustrated by Sheree Boyd. 2004. Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow

Children’s investigations and conceptual development are supported by teacher interventions that focus on reasoning rather than right answers. To accurately understand and assess children’s reasoning, teachers must observe children closely.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

“STEM Starts Early: Guidance and support from the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement”

The Early Childhood Science Education position statement, written and adopted by NSTA and endorsed by NAEYC, is a very useful tool for planning a science curriculum for children ages 3-5. Have you read it yet? The principles and declarations offer practical guidance for all early childhood programs, providers, teachers, program directors and principals.
During the Week of the Young Child, April 12-18, 2015, a free webinar from NSTA, “STEM Starts Early: Guidance and support from the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement,” will take you through the position statement, and its key research-based principles that inform and guide science teaching and learning in the early years. This interactive presentation will include stories from real classrooms and samples of classroom video for analysis and discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the position statement's recommendations for-
  • Teaching-creating an environment and facilitating explorations that support children’s collaborative inquiry in physical, life, and earth science
  • Professional development-providing experiences for teachers and education providers that really build their capacity to promote young children’s science learning and inquiry
  • Policy-committing resources to support early childhood science education
Register here 
Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT / 4:30 p.m. MT / 3:30 p.m. PT
Duration: 90 minutes
(Never did a webinar before? New users should log in 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for an introduction to NSTA web seminars.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Recommend a resource for early childhood science and engineering education

Guidance for effective science and engineering teaching can be found in the NSTA position statement on Early Childhood Science Education. Materials for science and engineering science explorations, such as teacher resource books, can support teachers and administrators in implementing the principles and declarations of the position statement. Many books claim to be that inquiry-based, well-researched, aligned with standards and developmentally appropriate content that you are looking for—but what is the evidence? 

The NSTA journal, Science and Children, publishes an occasional column called “Early Childhood Resource Review.” Column editor Ingrid Chalufour selects resources for review from those suggested by readers. The primary criteria for books is how well the author poses practical ways of addressing the NSTA position statement on early childhood science. The reviewers help us understand the value of the resource and how to get the most from it. Two columns recommending tools of inquiry for the classroom will be in the February 2015 and 2016 journals. 

Do you have a favorite book or other resource to suggest for consideration? Authors, don’t be shy. See the Science and Children Call for Papers page and scroll down to learn how to submit. Let other early childhood educators benefit from the resources you find most helpful.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NAEYC 2014 annual conference wrap-up and next steps

The Early Childhood Interest Forum (ECSIF), one of the NAEYC interest forums, contributed to the annual conference in Dallas with dialogue, group discussion, and attending and presenting sessions. It was a fun time (see the NAEYC YouTubewrap-up video) and a productive one.

The ECSIF members who went to the 2014 NAEYC conference in Dallas were connected to those who did not—we had the social media venues to link us. The Facebook page is the most active so go there if you want to join in the conversations from afar. This blog and the NAEYC interest forum pages are other places to find information, including the email address of the ECSIF.

Conference sessions by ECSIF members included:
·         Breaking new ground in early childhood science: Best practices in action illustrate a new National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) position statement—issued this year by the NSTA and endorsed by NAEYC.
·         Introducing the physical sciences with rocks
·         Scientific inquiry: Independent activities for science centers in early childhood classrooms
·         Integrating science and literacy in early childhood: Hands-on scientific investigations and literacy strategies for teachers
·         Children celebrate nature by finding the power of poetry
·         Integrating science, technology, and engineering in pre-K: Step up your practice by transforming common “good start” preschool activities into intellectually rigorous, developmentally appropriate experiences

If yours is not listed, please comment below to add your session! You can find sessions and check for uploaded handouts by following these steps:
1.      Visit this page:
2.      Enter the presenter's name, the session topic, or keyword and search.
3.      Click on the session title.
4.      Scroll to the bottom of the session description page that pops up. If handouts are available for your selected session, they will be listed there.

The annual meeting brought new and continuing members together for networking about our shared interest in science education. We also viewed video clips of children problem-solving and teachers engaging children in "minds-on" inquiry, and discussed children's capacity, teacher facilitation that supports inquiry and reflection, and the language/conceptual development in connection with science explorations. Sixty minutes wasn’t long enough! Members shared the accomplishments of the past year—presentations provided and attended, articles written, a new column in Science and Children reviewing early childhood science resources of all kinds, and the new NSTA position statement on Early Childhood ScienceEducation which was endorsed by NAEYC.

What we didn’t do was to talk about the structure and function of the ECSIF, how we want to contribute to the work of the ECSIF and what our next steps will be. We were so engaged in the vigorous discussion, sharing viewpoints and enjoying the actions of the children as they worked to solve problems and reflected on their work!

Upcoming early childhood science education events happening nationally or in your neighborhood can be posted in comments below or on the ECSIF Facebook page. What should our next steps be?

If you took notes at the ECSIF annual meeting, please add updates as a comment. The group enjoys ourselves as we talk about our passion for science education and learn from each other--you should join!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deeper understanding of the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education position statement

Members of the NAEYC's Early Childhod Science Interest Forum (ECSIF) contributed as members of the committee to write the National Science Teachers Association's new position statement on Early Childhood Science Education. Now member Karen Worth, faculty member and chair of the Elementary Education Departmentat Wheelock College, shares an in-depth look at the position statement and how it can be implemented. Listen in on a conversation between Worth and the science teacher hosts of Lab Out Loud, Dale Basler and Brian Bartel, as they delve into the new NSTA Early Childhood Science Education position statement, in Episode 108: Science in Early Childhood Education. This conversation is a mini-course on what children are capable of at ages 3-5 years old, and how to best support their science learning. It is a compelling statement on how intentional science teaching in preschool builds on children’s non-focused exploratory play.

Listen to the entire podcast, perhaps more than once, to gain insight on strengthening your science teaching. See the resources that go beyond the “science activity book format” on the Lab Out Loud website to find out how to provide a series of activities that build conceptual understanding. Share this conversation with your colleagues and the parents of your children! Listening to it and discussing after will make great professional development at a teachers’ meeting or pre-service class.

Read more about the podcast on the NSTA Early Years blog. Join or connect with the ECSIF on our NAEYC Interest Forum page or on Facebook.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

For early childhood educators: a new NSTA position statement on Early Childhood Science Education

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has adopted a new position statement, the Early Childhood Science Position Statement.  This thoughtful document was inspired by the clamor of early childhood educators looking for guidance informed by research on how to approach science teaching in the preschool years (ages 3-5) before kindergarten.
Educators and families can support 
young children's interest in learning 
about science and engineering concepts.
Drawing on research from the National Research Council, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and others, the NSTA Position Statement on Early Childhood Science Education “… affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them and lay the foundation for a progression of science learning in K–12 settings and throughout their entire lives.”
The position statement supports early childhood educators who seek to honor young children’s “capacity for constructing conceptual learning and the ability to use the practices of reasoning and inquiry” at a developmentally appropriate level. Early childhood educators are urged to “take advantage of what children do as part of their everyday life prior to entering formal school settings [because] these skills and abilities can provide helpful starting points for developing scientific reasoning.” The Early Childhood Science position statement complements the position statement on elementary science education adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors in July 2002.
A 1-yr-old exploring water learns
about the properties of liquids
with adult guidance and support.
NSTA identifies six key principals to guide the learning of science by young children. In addition, declarations and recommendations further identify the following, among others, as critical for high quality science learning environments: the nurturing oyoung children’s curiosity; the understanding that everyday play is part of science learning; and supportive educators who are prepared to carefully plan open-ended, inquiry-based explorations.
I am grateful to Cindy Workosky, NSTA Communications Specialist, who spearheaded the effort and the NSTA panel members who wrote the Early Childhood Science position statement, Susan Catapano (Chair), Peggy Carlisle, Christine Chaille, Ingrid Chalufour, Linda Froschauer, Rochel Gelman, Julie McGough, William C. Ritz, Jennifer S. Thompson, and Karen Worth. (See the full list of panel members below.) I thank the NSTA Board of Directors for their forward-thinking action in adopting the work of the panel.
The position statement is a document that will inform my teaching practice and writing. It reminds me to intentionally prepare the environment and experiences to allow children to fully engage with the materials and provide time to talk about those experiences. I can share it with the program directors and school principals I work with to help them understand that science and engineering learning begins in the early years before kindergarten, when children are given multiple opportunities to engage in science exploration and experiences through inquiry. It will guide programs, school districts and states as they write new early childhood science standards and curriculum.
Take a look at the newly issued Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement online or in the February 2013 issue of Science and Children, print out a copy to share with your colleagues and the families of your students, and talk about how it will support and possibly change your teaching.

Panel, NSTA Early Childhood Science Position Statement

Susan Catapano, Chair
Chair and Professor
International Coordinator
Watson College of Education, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC

Peggy Carlisle (NSTA Board)
NSTA Director, Preschool/Elementary Div.
Gifted Education Teacher, Pecan Park Elementary, Jackson, MS 
Christine Chaille
Professor and Chair, Curriculum and Information
Portland State University, Portland, OR
Ingrid Chalufour
Education Consultant
Brunswick, ME
Linda Froschauer
Field Editor, Science and Children
NSTA Past President
Westport, CT
Rochel Gelman
Distinguished Professor
Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science
and the Psychology Department
Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ
Julie McGough
K-3 Primary Teacher
Valley Oak Elementary
Adjunct Faculty, Science Education
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
William C. Ritz
Professor Emeritus, Science Education
Director, "A Head Start on Science"
California State University at Long Beach, Long Beach, CA   
Jennifer S. Thompson (NSTA Council)
NSTA Director, District XVII
K-1 Primary Teacher
Harborview Elementary
Adjunct Faculty, Education
University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK
Karen Worth
Instructor, Elementary Education Department & Department Chair
Wheelock College, Boston, MA