So, with British Science Week on the horizon I have been taking a look at what links we could make to the EYFS, and working out some ideas for activities during the week. Science is clearly an important agenda in schools, being one of the three compulsory subjects covered up to GCSE, so why does it have such a small part to play in Early Years?
Being of a science background it is easy to see the links from different areas of the EYFS, Problem Solving, understanding the World, Communication, but without any clear reference to science, it is more common to see all these areas covered without a glance at this much maligned subject. Maybe the cause of this is a lack of scientific knowledge in the workforce. Maybe it is because it offers no value at this young age. I. however, believe it is simply because science itself is regarded as too complicated and not enough about doing, a notion that comes from a poorly thought out curriculum in schools that has left a lot of adults with a sour taste in their mouths for the subject.
So what is science really? The dictionary defines it as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. But that doesn’t really help, it doesn’t make it sound obvious enough that a one year old can do, does it? But they can, because dropping food and noting it went onto the floor, dropping more food and noting the same thing happened is science – a systematic practical activity to show how objects behave in the physical world. Every one of the children in our settings is doing this every day, it’s how they learn how things around them work, and importantly; it impacts on every area of the EYFS.
So how do you incorporate this into your day, and how do you link it to areas of the EYFS? Simple, give children the space and resources they need to investigate the world around them. Pose them questions that they need to answer – How high can your build that tower? What lives under there? How can we make a rainbow? – and then let them work out that answer. Observe them in whatever direction they take it, maybe they used a really creative solution, maybe the language they used to describe it was new for them, or maybe they just enjoyed themselves and you had no paper to show for it (that really isn’t a bad thing, is it?).
So with Science Week ahead of us and a clear idea of the benefits, we need to start making an effort to include science in our settings. If you want some in depth ideas how this can be done then come to one of our training sessions. If you want some ideas for what to do during Science Week then you will have to wait until next month when I will write them up into a post.
About the author: Matt Stanford