Saturday, September 19, 2009

Science and Art in Early Childhood Education

"A young child is, indeed, a true scientist, just one big question mark. What? Why? How? I never cease to marvel at the recurring miracle of growth, to be fascinated by the mystery and wonder of this brave enthusiasm."
-Victoria Wagner

So often when I used to plan my preschool curriculum I would lump science and math together. It is acceptable in early childhood education and I never thought to plan curriculum any other way at first way. Then it hit me, science is all around us just like math...why in tarnation am I always lumping these two together? Why not science and art? Or science and the dramatic play area? The children and I began to look at the preschool curriculum from different points of entry.
One day, I announced we were scientists and we put our magnifiers, tweezers and flashlights on the table and the children brought anything they wanted to the table for a 'closer look'. They were fascinated by the stitching in the doll clothing and the buttons and zippers!
We had played and dressed the dolls for months, but never really noticed how it all held together.
This started a whole new cycle of preschool curriculum the children and the parents were very excited about. SEWING & TEXTILES.
We learned how to sew a buttons, dye fabric, make bean bags, we made fabulous curtains for our room. The families got involved and helped us make a classroom quilt! We even learned the names of textures and fabrics by touching or smelling them!
This was a three-year-old preschool class. The following year the preschool classes enjoyed the unit so much they repeated it and auctioned off the quilts as a fundraiser. It just goes to show when an idea catches fire, people love to come and see it burn.

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