Reviewed by Ann Rubino
Adjunct, Lewis University College of Education
This is a thorough and practical guide for preschool and primary teachers. Though many pre–K teachers may have limited backgrounds in science, their students are at an age when basic concepts can and should be experienced. They are also at a stage in life when all is new and they are easily fascinated with and absorbed by natural phenomena, making it easy and rewarding to build science into a major part of their learning. The four authors combine many years of experience in teaching science to children and their teachers to create an eminently practical guide for achieving this.
The first chapter gives a clear synopsis of the reasons for teaching science in the preschool classroom and many age–appropriate ways of doing so. Language development for both native speakers and ELL students is described, with good examples. There is a section on using science experiences to help develop early math understandings. Family involvement strategies are explained. The utility of centers along with strategies for forming and managing them are described. And finally, appropriate assessment for the young is laid out. All of this is closely aligned with current best–practice ideas.
The other seven chapters each deal with a major science theme: Alike and Different, Exploring Motion, Exploring Change, Exploring Tools, Working with Water, Light and Shadows, and Exploring Our World. Each one gives an introduction to the concepts being introduced, alignment with standards, and lists the materials to have at hand and some basic strategies. Then each activity includes the specific content standards, explains how to conduct the activity or manage the station, and then outlines a variety of ways to connect the science to other parts of the preschool curriculum. There is always attention given to special needs and dual language learners. Art and language development are integral parts of every little unit, and challenges are listed to accommodate the different learning speeds of the children. Some lessons include links to related books.
This book contains virtually all the information a preschool teacher would need to provide a top–rated science program for her students. The easily available materials are listed, the concepts and standards explained, the nuts and bolts of management are given, the assessment spelled out—all neatly connected to the rest of the required curriculum. It is highly recommended.
Review posted on 4/16/2012