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Posted: August 20th, 2023

Nurturing Young Minds: Integrating Everyday Sciences and Sciencing in Early Childhood Education

Assignment 1: Sciences/sciencing expository essay with philosophy
Weight: 45%
Length: 1800 words excluding references
Due date: Monday 31 July, 2023
Relevant learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Step 1: Background ideas for your assignment
Contemporary sciences (the big topics of science e.g. biology, physics, chemistry, mechanics,
astronomy, physiology, nutrition, medicine, lifecycles, archaeology, ecology, botany,
microbiology, sustainability, geography…..) are fundamental to our daily lives; however,
often sciences are challenging for early childhood educators because of previous childhood or
schooling experiences or the portrayal of sciences in the media. Children’s science concepts
are integral to their learning, everywhere and everyday they are constructing and
reconstructing their understandings about the world and asking questions. When educators
and children put science concepts into practice or action, the noun sciences becomes the verb
sciencing; that is young children are ‘doing’ science. (Refer Topics 2 & 4 and ‘Science
learning affordances in preschool environments’ (Fleer et al., 2014).
Remember as outlined across this unit, we are using a ‘caring’ conceptual framework (Refer
Topic 1) to guide and explain what we believe as meaningful and relevant ways to approach
the sciences in the early childhood years with an underpinning ethic of sustainability. Lastly,
please write your essay with comprehensive referencing from literature throughout all parts.
NOTE: An expository essay is writing that explores or explains a specific topic or issue,
researches relevant evidence and offers a coherent argument or rationale.
Step 2: Essay outline in three parts
Part A: Science topic and rationale (500w)
Firstly, informed by science references describe a ‘big science’ topic of interest to you. Then,
write a rationale about why this topic could be relevant for young children as part of a
sciences curriculum. Remember the rationale needs to be specific to your chosen ‘big
science’ and not a generic overview of why science might be ‘good’ for children. Over
weeks, 1 – 4 share and post personal-drafts of this Part A only and offer feedback to others in
your Assignment 1 Workgroup.
Part B: Professional sciences/sciencing philosophy (650w)
Synthesise your sciences/sciencing values in the form of a professional educators’ philosophy
focused on early childhood everyday sciences and sciencing. Begin with an overview
paragraph, then outline 3 key science teaching related values that will guide your pedagogical
role in sciencing with children. Use a stem for each value such as: I care about … I support …
I embrace … I am committed to … I respect … I recognise … Ensure that you outline and
justify each value in 3-4 sentences.
Part C: Sciencing (informed by Parts A and B) (650w)
Sciencing means children doing science(s) with purpose and it is important to acknowledge
that childrens’ questions both inform their ways of doing science and how we pedagogically
respond as educators. Here you are asked to state two hypothetical questions that children
might ask about your chosen ‘big science’ topic in Part A. Note that reflecting on your past
science experiences with children may assist here and do remember to specify the relevant
age group for each question. Then, take a critically reflective approach to elaborate how you
might co-investigate each question with children, ensuring that you demonstrate
understandings about theory, pedagogy and play-based everyday science experiences relevant
to the investigation. Your co-investigative approach should also illustrate alignment with
your professional philosophy values as stated in Part B.
Step 3: A sample essay template
Title and introduction
Part A: Science topic and rationale
Part B: Professional sciences/sciencing philosophy
Part C: Sciencing
References
____________________________
Nurturing Young Minds: Integrating Everyday Sciences and Sciencing in Early Childhood Education

Introduction:
Contemporary sciences play a fundamental role in our daily lives, encompassing a wide range of disciplines such as biology, physics, chemistry, and ecology. However, incorporating science education in early childhood settings can be challenging for educators due to personal experiences and societal perceptions. In this expository essay, we will explore the importance of integrating a ‘caring’ conceptual framework and sustainability ethic in early childhood science education. This essay aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the relevance of big science topics for young children, develop a professional sciences/sciencing philosophy, and illustrate co-investigative approaches aligned with this philosophy.

Part A: Science topic and rationale
The topic of interest for this essay is “Biodiversity and Ecosystems.” Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms in a specific area, while ecosystems encompass the interrelationships between living organisms and their environment. Understanding biodiversity and ecosystems is crucial for young children as it promotes ecological awareness, fosters a sense of responsibility towards the environment, and cultivates sustainable practices. By engaging children in exploring and appreciating biodiversity and ecosystems, educators can facilitate the development of ecological literacy and a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship.

Part B: Professional sciences/sciencing philosophy

I embrace the wonder and curiosity of children: I recognize and encourage children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world. By embracing their questions and observations, I create an environment that fosters inquiry-based learning and scientific thinking. Through open-ended discussions and hands-on experiences, I provide opportunities for children to explore, hypothesize, and engage in scientific investigations.

I support holistic connections between sciences and children’s lives: I believe in connecting scientific concepts to children’s everyday experiences. By linking science learning to their immediate environment, cultural backgrounds, and personal interests, I make science meaningful and relevant. This approach cultivates a sense of ownership and empowers children to see themselves as capable contributors to scientific knowledge.

I am committed to fostering sustainability and environmental consciousness: I recognize the urgent need to promote sustainable practices and environmental stewardship from an early age. By integrating sustainability principles into science education, I empower children to understand the impact of their actions on the natural world. Through hands-on experiences, nature exploration, and discussions about environmental challenges, I nurture a sense of responsibility and inspire children to become advocates for positive change.

Part C: Sciencing
Hypothetical Questions:

(Age Group: 4-5 years) How do plants and animals depend on each other in a garden ecosystem?
(Age Group: 6-7 years) What are the effects of pollution on local wildlife?
Co-investigative Approaches:

To explore the first question, I would initiate a collaborative project where children create a mini-garden ecosystem within the classroom. Through observation, hands-on exploration, and guided discussions, children would learn about the interdependencies between plants and animals. They would have the opportunity to investigate pollination, the role of decomposers, and the impact of human actions on garden biodiversity. This co-investigative approach aligns with my philosophy of embracing children’s wonder and curiosity and supporting holistic connections between sciences and their lives.

Addressing the second question, I would design a multi-disciplinary project focusing on pollution and its impact on local wildlife. Children would engage in research, experiments, and field trips to study the effects of pollution on different organisms. Through role-playing, storytelling, and collaborative problem-solving, children would develop an understanding of the importance of environmental conservation. This approach aligns with my commitment to fostering sustainability and environmental consciousness.

In conclusion, integrating big science topics, such as biodiversity and ecosystems, in early childhood education is crucial for cultivating scientific literacy, environmental awareness, and sustainable practices. By embracing children’s wonder, supporting holistic connections, and fostering sustainability, educators can create meaningful sciencing experiences that empower children to become active participants in shaping a more sustainable future.

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