Science 3-6: Laying the Foundations in the Early Years

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Science 3-6: Laying the Foundation in the Early Years is an edited collection of chapters about the teaching of science to children aged three to six years. Published by the ASE in 2000, it aimed to describe and promote good practice in science education in early childhood. Its nine chapters were written by experienced practitioners and researchers.

The book provides a rationale for including science activities in early childhood education and the various chapters consider aspects of good practice such as using play, enquiry, and language, and approaches to planning, assessment and promoting equality and citizenship. It is not a scheme of work to follow, although the discussion is illustrated with many examples of activities for children and teachers. Examples of schemes of work and resources needed are given in appendices.

The book was produced just after the publication of the National Curriculum in England and Wales and equivalent documents in other parts of the UK. The National Curriculum set out requirements for what children aged five to seven years should be taught and what they should learn. There were also plans to test children aged seven in science as well as mathematics and language. This put pressure on teachers to ensure their children met certain criteria whatever their background or early experience. Although the tests for seven year olds in science were soon dropped, it left a legacy of ‘teaching to the test’ and made many teachers uncertain about the best experiences for young children. This book was timely, therefore, in underlining the need to cater for the different ways in which the three to six year olds learn about the world around them.

Chapter 1: Why early years science?
Chapter 2: Making sense of the national criteria
Chapter 3: Exploration and inquiry
Chapter 4: Children’s language in science
Chapter 5: Science through everyday activities
Chapter 6: Assessment in the early years
Chapter 7: Promoting equality and citizenship
Chapter 8: managing science in the early years
Chapter 9: Planning the future
Appendix 1: Schemes of work for the early years
Appendix 2: Some basic resources for early-years enquiries
Appendix 3: Appropriate software resources

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