Science is everywhere. With this awareness, you can identify common scientific principles that occur in your normal everyday family life. That's reassuring for parents who have become teachers due to the pandemic.
Your child begins to experiment and learn about science usually before he can walk. The youngest child discovers gravity at a young age when the spoon "falls" to the floor from the highchair or the stuffed animal "falls" from the crib. It's a true discovery that can be replicated and is based on scientific fact. As your child matures, he can begin to think like a scientist and be curious, asking, "I wonder why?"
Whether building with blocks or throwing a ball, your child is learning basic principles of physics. The concepts need not be put into words, as results happen best in real life. For the young child who is verbal, a simple question asked can elicit a prediction. "What do you think will happen if I put this large long block on top of this stack of three small blocks?" "What happens to the car as it goes down the ramp?"
Consider the science as you become aware of things we take for granted. It is easy and tempting to share what we know, but try to just enjoy the pleasure your child derives from making a discovery on her own. And it's ok to be amazed, too. "Oh my! What happened to the ice I put in my glass a while ago?" "Yesterday this rose was so small and now the blossom is huge. What made it change?"
Find science in every room of the house. In the kitchen, explore solid, liquid, and gas which are different forms of water. Talk about how bread dough rises, or the way the mineral water fizzes. In the bathroom, have toys available so your child can see the ones that float and the ones that sink. What happens when you try to keep a ball under the water on the bottom of the tub?
Every home holds many types of science. Here are a few ideas for easy explorations and discoveries:
As always, the concrete real-life activity needs to come first, preceding the abstract principles and explanations which come later for an older child. Children can learn to predict what might occur, and they can record proof of what happened. Young children learn by moving and using their senses, so keep them moving, listening, touching, and watching. Enjoy finding science everywhere.
"Children are stimulated by natural curiosity... and learning by discovery rather than by being told gives children a particular satisfaction."
—Aline D. Wolf, A Parents' Guide to the Montessori Classroom
—by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services. She is a trained primary Montessori directress and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught children aged 2 to 7 years in Montessori schools, Headstart, and also in a preschool for children with developmental challenges. In her counseling practice, she helps individuals, couples, and families.
—Originally Published 2020