Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Early childhood science at the 2013 NAEYC conference

The NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum (ECSIF) is a dedicated—and open—group. All members of NAEYC can be members, just sign up on the NAEYC interest forum page. Any one who is not a member of NAEYC can still participate on this blog and on the ECSIF Facebook page. Two of the goals of this interest forum are about getting information out to early childhood teachers: 
 • provide opportunities for the exchange of effective strategies and quality materials for teaching science;
• support efforts to expand professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators;
The annual NAEYC conference is one place where these goals are achieved, and this year was no exception!

There were many excellent sessions on science and engineering teaching in early childhood with opportunities to learn science and engineering content and see model lessons, view videos of children involved in explorations and inquiry and their teachers supporting them, share resources, discuss what science and engineering learning should look like in PreK-grade 2, share pictures of classroom and outdoor settings that support science learning, hear how programs develop an interdisciplinary approach, and learn what researchers are finding out about standards and assessment in early childhood. And more! 

A session on play provided a chunk of time
to explore the properties of materials,
and our own thinking.

A community of practice paired the Project Approach with the CLASS with great success.

Some of the ECSIF core group met to plan the annual meeting.

The ECSIF annual meeting--where rigorous discussion is welcomed and all can share ideas.
Sharing resources at the ECSIF 2013 annual meeting.

Experiencing an engineering challenge helps
teachers prepare developmentally appropriate
engineering activities for their students.

Engineering learning can be paired
with a favorite story.
Defining science learning and teaching” session, led by Ingrid Chalufour,
Cindy Hoisington, Karen Worth, and Linda Froschauer, laid the groundwork for
what is appropriate and effective science teaching in early childhood.

Adults need to experience inquiry
so we can help children.

Look what I see! Adults experiencing the wonder of
observing an interesting phenomena.

Hope you didn't miss this session: Sharing the BIG IDEAS of physical science
with pre-K children: Properties of matter, force/motion, and measurement.

These early childhood educators got right into it--there's so much to share and learn!
 The NAEYC conference was truly worthwhile experience--I wish that all programs could afford to send their teachers, and that all family home childcare providers could afford to attend. I wrote a little more about the conference on the NSTA Early Years blog.

Another ECSIF goal is to:
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.
At this year's conference, Linda Froschauer, editor of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) elementary journal, Science and Children, announced that early childhood science educators with NSTA have drafted an Early Childhood Science Position Statement, and it will be available on the NSTA website for review within the next couple of weeks. This will help early childhood teachers know what is best practice in science teaching before Kindergarten.

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