Preschool STEM and Young Scientists


“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

~ Mr. Rogers

Last year, I pushed into the K0/K1 classrooms and supported the work of the classroom teachers. This year, students are traveling upstairs to my classroom, which I have named the Science Makerspace. The classroom Focus on Preschool Curriculum is a heavy science-based curriculum. My classes will be more STEM and choice-based integrated literacy. Our preschool students have transitioned up to the Science Makerspace twice a week. They are engaging in Inquiry-based Learning Centers through play. Please check out my Resources for Families page for activities to use at home and articles for you to explore on the important of “play” as students work.

My philosophy of education believes that play is a major avenue of learning for young children. The Learning Centers provide opportunities for play and learning at the preschool level. The activities support the concept aligned with the way children learn. Additionally, the content is not being separated into different areas, but is naturally being integrated in a holistic way as they play. See photographs below.

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Your young scientists are enthusiastic about their “work-play”. Throughout the day (on the stairwell, on the playground or at lunchtime) students come up to me and say, “Ms. Alicia, do we have science today? I love coming to science! I wish I could come every day”. I also get the thumbs up and “You did a good job today, Ms. Alicia”. I have now arrived!

“Nothing is invented, for it’s written in nature first.”

~ Antoni Gaudí

Our study of animals began with children’s author, Eric Carle. We read Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do you Hear? and started with a talk about the five senses. Students love his books! We’ve explored a matching game, lacing, art and math integrated activities through literacy. We’ve read Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do you See?, Animal Homes, and his very famous story, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See? We also talked about Eric Carle as an author and artist. We looked inside of his art studio and the process he used to write the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Students drew their own pictures in our writing and art center.

Last week, we read and discussed stories about scientists and the tools they use. We started using the magnifying glass to observe goldfish, water snails, and the elodia water plant that are living in our classroom aquarium. We looked at the parts of the fish (fins, gills, scales, eyes), and read a very funny story by Dr. Seuss about over-feeding fish. Next week, I will introduce guppies, and we will compare and contrast the fish.

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We will be discussing differences and similarities in the animals we investigate and starting to develop the important attitudes of respect for life, safety and responsibility for all living animals and ourselves. You can also help your child learn about animals by taking walks in your neighborhood to look for animals, and also by talking about animals around your home – everything from pets to insects.

See the slideshow below with additional photographs of your young scientists engaging in work-play. Enjoy!

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