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Young children are little scientists. They instinctively stretch, prod, observe and categorise the world’s offerings. This natural inquisitiveness can be cultivated even before school and several studies have shown the benefits, in terms of general learning ability and specific maths and science skills. But just how early can this ‘sciencing’, as it’s known, start? A new study by Tessa van Schijndel and colleagues claims that a six-week sciencing programme for two to three-year-olds boosted their exploratory ‘science-like’ play.

Thirty-five two- to three-year-olds at an Amsterdam day-care centre were assigned to the six-week sciencing programme. This involved a specialist science teacher encouraging the children to play two kinds of games in their sandpit: ‘sorting and sets’, which had a cake-baking theme, and ‘slope and speed’ which had an ‘on top of the mountain theme’. The children were free to join in or leave the sand-pit games as often as they wanted, but were encouraged to take part at least once a week. The games involved toys of different colours and materials, as well as plastic tubes and balls. The key elements of the guided play were manipulating the objects, repeatedly sorting them into various combinations, and observing the effects of these manipulations. The regular teachers complemented this play by reading from books that matched the cake and mountain themes.

Twelve age-matched kids at another day-care centre run by the same organisation acted as controls. They were provided with the exact same sand-pit toys but they weren’t guided in how to interact with them.

Read in Full:  http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2010/10/cultivating-little-scientists-from-age.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BpsResearchDigest+(BPS+Research+Digest)



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