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ChildCare Education Institute June Newsletter
Science in the Classroom 
In This Issue...
Science in the Early Childhood Classroom

At its core, science is all about exploration, experimentation, and observation. These are the things that lead to the most important product of science: discovery. This is true regardless of a person's level of scientific engagement, whether he or she is a preschooler playing at the water table or an astrophysicist studying the composition of a distant nebulae.
 

Of course, advanced scientific study involves understanding of assorted definitions and facts and formulas, as well as skills in using various tools and gadgets. Scientific knowledge and skills are important and some are appropriate and necessary to introduce in the early childhood environment. However, an early childhood professional's first and most important goal regarding science education is to encourage exploration, experimentation, and observation. Keep those three words in mind as you plan and assess science-based activities.

 

In many ways, children are natural-born scientists because they inherently engage in all three basic scientific activities. Young children are eager to explore spaces and experiment with objects in the environment. They are also keen observers from the moment they first open their eyes, learning language skills and social behaviors almost entirely through observation (and imitation) of others. Early childhood professionals must recognize and take advantage of these natural characteristics, providing appropriate guidance and experiences to help young learners expand their knowledge and skills.   

 

Hands-on activities are always important in science education (regardless of student age), but while older students should be expected to learn about facts and formulas, hands-on learning should always be the primary focus with young children. There will be time for formal, direct instruction of scientific knowledge, but in the early stages, the most important goal is to promote a sense of wonder and interest in the natural world.    

   

The following tips will help you get the most from hands-on, science-based activities in the early childhood environment...

 

It does not take much to bring valuable scientific skills and knowledge into a typical play activity.   

   

All scientific inquiry begins with a question. Why? How? What happened? What will happen? Ask children questions and encourage them to ask questions and probe for answers.

 

Encourage children to conduct investigations in order to answer questions. A good investigation begins with a plan. Eventually, students will learn all about the formal phases of the scientific method: question, research, hypothesis (prediction), experiment, observations, data collection, conclusion, communication of results. However, young children do not need to master formal methods in order to engage in scientific reasoning. Asking them to make predictions and then decide whether and why their predictions were right or wrong is a good start.   

   

Whenever possible, early childhood professionals should intentionally incorporate some or all of the following into learning experiences:

  • Observation (gathering and describing qualitative data based on sensory information; e.g., what do you see?). Any time you ask children to describe an object or event, you are asking them to exercise their observation skills.
  • Data collection and analysis can involve a wide range of skills important for advancement in both science and math (as well as some interdisciplinary skills related to language arts and social studies). Important data skills include measuring (gathering and organizing quantitative data using standard measurement tools or estimation) and classifying (grouping objects or events into categories based on defined criteria, e.g., mammals vs. reptiles).
  • Predicting and inferring (formulating assumptions based on observations). You can ask children to predict what will happen or why something happened, but the real value from such a question comes from encouraging them to support their answers with data. "I think this is what will happen and here's why..."
  • Presenting (using words, symbols, or graphics to describe an object or event). Creating a table or chart to illustrate data (for example, the time it takes an ice cube to melt or how many children in the class prefer chocolate to vanilla ice cream) is a just one way to exercise those presentation skills in a scientific context.

NSTA Position Statement on Science in Early Childhood

At an early age, all children have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore, and discover the world around them (NRC 2012). These are basic abilities for science learning that can and should be encouraged and supported among children in the earliest years of their lives. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 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.

View Article
Article Courtesy of NSTA.org 


Science Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarten

Around this age, children are typically capable of physically engaging with things on their own, and have gained some facility with language to begin to describing and discussing their experiences. Make your child's first memories of science fun and meaningful with these science activities for preschoolers and kindergarten.

View Article
Article Courtesy of PBS.org 

Sensory Processing Outlined in New Course from CCEI

CCEI is proud to introduce SPN104: Making Sense of Sensory Processing to the online child care training course catalog.

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. This course is designed to help teachers understand sensory processing, its implications in the classroom, and how to support children who may be struggling with sensory processing. Course content includes helpful teaching practices and strategies for meeting the needs of all learners.   

 

This Month's Trial Course: Sensational Science

CCEI offers CCEI440: Sensational Science as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of June 

 

This course examines age appropriate guidelines and activities for setting up a science center that includes activities that build curiosity. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to define science as it relates to preschool children, identify appropriate materials to include in a science center, identify basic activities for promoting early science skills, and much more.  

 

CCEI Introduces Read-Aloud Course for Early Childhood Environment

CCEI is excited to introduce LIT101: The Read-Aloud Process: Building the Components of Literacy to the online child care training course catalog.

A good read-aloud is a process that includes pre-reading, during-reading, and after-reading strategies that promote comprehension and interpretation, helping children to engage with the text, build literary language and background knowledge, and make meaningful connections. This course is about the preparation and skills a teacher needs in order to ensure that read-alouds in the early childhood environment accomplish the literacy building goals of a good early childhood curriculum  

   

Individual Professional Development Subscriptions for only $99 per year!  
CCEI offers over 100 IACET CEU-awarded online child care training courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has professional development offerings in English and Spanish, and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access. 
   
Center-Based Subscriptions 
Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way for directors to manage and administer continuing education for staff members. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for small and large centers, allow directors to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!


Online CDA Coursework
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs of study meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Goals established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas.

Online Director Programs
CCEI offers several online programs for directors including the Online Director's Certificate and
Director's Certificate Renewal, Georgia Director's Certificate, Texas Director's Certificate and Texas Director's Certificate Renewal, and Florida Director's Certificate Renewal. These programs provide the professional development required for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. Each student receives support from an Education Coach (EC) and CCEI's Customer Support Help Desk.

CCEI Early Childhood Credential 

The CCEI Early Childhood Credential (ECC) is designed to give a basic framework of early childhood theory and application through online content-based coursework, reading assignments, practical application exercises, essays, parent interviews, classroom observation and oral and written exams. The instructional units and the 180 hours of coursework cover major topics in early childhood education including the Principles of Child Growth and Development; Safe, Healthy Environments; Social and Emotional Development; Motor, Language, and Cognitive Development; Principles of Child Assessment; Program Management, Families, and Professionalism. The credential awards 18 IACET CEUs, and is recognized by NAEYC to meet a part of the Alternative Pathways for directors to achieve educational qualifications. The ECC is a clear pathway toward higher education and raising the knowledge and skills of the early education workforce. Holders of the CCEI Early Childhood Credential can be considered qualified for Head Start positions that require a minimum of a CDA or other certificate. Graduates of CCEI's Early Childhood Credential (ECC) will have met all training, portfolio, and observation requirements of the national CDA Credential and only need to complete the Council's exam at a PearsonVue testing center to finalize the CDA Credential application process.The ECC is an expanded program that incorporates the other CDA required elements such as the formal observation and portfolio creation.

 

CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit through articulation with one of CCEI's articulation partners, and has received college credit recommendations by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS), which has more than 1,500 schools willing to consider college credit recommendations. Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website for more information or to enroll online.

  

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