Children are such natural scientists

Everything you observe is science...

Everything you observe is science…

Isn’t nature wonderful! It may still be cold outside, but that doesn’t stop the pigeon sidling up to his mate, or the blackbird singing over his territory. And blowing a gale it may be, but those valiant daffodils still manage to bloom.

Even in the concrete surround of a town or city you can find nature making a home in the most unlikeliest of places, like ants do between paving slabs or hardy buddleia that clings to walls and rooftops.

If you can just stop and observe a moment, you come across the most amazing things.

Kids are really good at this. Grown-ups can be especially bad, rushing on as we do with our day’s agenda.

As a parent, or home educator, it’s best to stop that and follow their example. Because these little observations are the beginnings of science, whether it’s plants or bricks, buses or bees.

Science is one of the subjects that many parents feel unable to help their children with. Yet, the daft thing is, science is so enmeshed into our daily life if you think about it. It’s just that school curriculum has disjointed it and made it unrecognisable.

And the other daft thing is that being in a school can remove children from the opportunity to develop the foundation of a scientific mind. For this foundation starts with simple observation. Observation of ourselves, the world and our interaction with it, followed by the question why, or how or what, is the evidence of their scientific mind developing – and they’re really good at those questions – have you noticed!

A third daft approach to science in schools is that it is made so academic, when in the real world it is very much a practical subject. A real hands-on, get-involved subject you can do in ways with children which immediately engages their interest. Observation and inquiry being one of the most effective ways to start.

By observing as you go, whatever you are doing, discussing what you see, you begin the study of science – the study and understanding of the world around them – both natural and man-made.

Children are fascinated little beings, already full of curiosity and the desire to experiment. It is the desire to experiment and find out that resulted in some of the most important scientific advancements so far.

Children are born scientists most of them, so by encouraging their observation, curiosity and discussion you are encouraging scientific thinking and understanding. And this lays the basis which can be formalised into more complicated academic study and research at a later date.

There are so many subjects on the curriculum which can be linked to the real world of our children through practical means, which makes science relevant and meaningful and develops their understanding. Then there are programmes and YouTube clips and fun scientific games online to extend it.

But the best way to start is to modify our own agendas, pay attention when our kids say ‘look’, or ask why, and begin to observe the real world and find out about it with them. This is the basis of their scientific skills.

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6 thoughts on “Children are such natural scientists

  1. This is exactly right – being a scientist is really all about wonder and play and discover – all of which is killed off by the way that science is done in school. Thanks for the blog – I’ll be popping back!

  2. Thanks I needed to read this today. Mine are still too little to be officially HEing them yet, but I have been having some wobbles lately about whether I am doing it providing enough opportunities/stimulation/intentional discovery moments – science is one of those areas that I wonder the most about. I know and believe that kids are always learning, however we shape their HE experience, but it is amazing how much we can second guess ourselves and I have been doing that a lot lately- probably something to do with having a 10.5 week old baby and being knackered. Anyway, thanks again, you reminded me of the important truth that science is a natural product of an enquiring mind and curiosity.

    • Great to hear that and know the post has brought you some reassurance! I do appreciate you taking time to tell me. I’m sure you’re absolutely exhausted and sounds as if this is not something to need to worry about right now! And do remember that you cannot keep the stimulation going every single minute – something we perhaps aim for as conscientious parents. If you think about the children in schools, they probably have only a few minutes a day where they’re actually stimulated! So we don’t do too bad! Take care of yourself, even that will be educating your children! 🙂 x

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