Teachers Group Looks to Develop Future Scientists With Book For Preschoolers

Earlier this month, the National Science Teachers Association released a new book geared toward preschoolers. The book is an extension of NSTA’s mission of supporting science for all.

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recently unveiled its latest book, and the audience it was developed for may surprise you.

A Head Start on Life Science: Encouraging a Sense of Wonder is geared toward teachers of 3- to 7- year-olds and offers 24 inquiry-based lessons, which are designed to develop a sense of curiosity about the world within preschoolers.

“We published a popular book 10 years ago called A Head Start on Science, and it really became a classic,” said Claire Reinburg, assistant executive director of NSTA Press. “It’s sold 18,000 copies, so clearly preschool teachers responded really enthusiastically to that, and we wanted to meet their request and demand for more resources in this area for the youngest learners.”

This new book contains lessons on animals and plants and also includes learning objectives, lists of required materials, and context to the lessons. For instance, one lesson encourages preschoolers to explore the insides of a pumpkin, while others ask them to study bug camouflage and create bird feeders.

“NSTA’s mission is supporting science for all, so that includes the youngest scientists because again, kids are just so naturally drawn to the world around them, and their curiosity about what they see, we really could be capitalizing on that more by doing a specific focus on pre-k,” said Reinburg.

But this book is just one of the resources NSTA has created for the youngest scientists. NSTA has also published a list of titles for children themselves, under its NSTA Kids banner. Plus, it produces a journal for elementary school teachers that includes components for preschool educators.

“We’ve been doing this for awhile,” said Reinburg. “We really see science learning as something that builds over time, so if you can follow kids’ interest and foster their excitement about science and engineering early on, we can see that then carries them through their studies when they get to school—or in other efforts they might be interested in pursuing later on.”

Building a pipeline of future scientists and engineers is one of NSTA’s goals in developing these resources for preschoolers.

“We’d really like this book and the really engaging science activities in it to boost preschool teachers’ knowledge about science and help boost their excitement about it, too, so they can foster that same excitement in young children,” she said. “Kids are just natural explorers, so let’s capitalize on their curiosity and guide them to question and explore over a lifetime, because that’s really what it’s about—curiosity about the world around them.”

(Associations Now illustration)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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