Over the past months, I have been delightfully assisting my teacher and local librarian, Christina, in her preschool math and science programs. There’s so much fun to be had! These programs are meant to ignite curiosity and nurture early learning by exposing children to the world of math and science that exists in every-day activities with fun experiments.
The first program centered around nursery rhymes. Christina started out with story time, using rhymes, songs, reading-aloud, and storytelling to share popular nursery rhymes. Her crowd management skills are amazing! She knows how to mesmerize, intrigue, and encourage participation without totally losing control. She’s not a fun-killer but I think she has a keen ear for when noise is too loud that it disrupts other kids. When this happens she does collective activities that brings everyone’s attention to her like imitating soft, falling rain.
After her story time, Christina had three volunteers (including myself) set up stations of math and science. For the Three Little Pigs, we showed the different weights of material by having kids construct houses out of sticks and bricks. For the Itsby Bitsy Spider, we had kids examine the force of water as it pushed a fake spider out of a tube. I took control of the Hickory Dickory Dock station. I set up a pendulum to reveal the power of force and to show the pattern that a pendulum makes. Yes, it was messy. Yes, kids were having fun. But most importantly, kids were observing the way their world behaves. Beautiful!
A few weeks later, Christina and I prepped her Fun with Math & Science for Caregivers and Kids, a workshop provided by the Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition. A small, manageable group of seven showed up–enough for caregivers to listen without too much distraction. What is great about this workshop is the direct encouragement of literacy and curiosity skills because the kids are there to test out the 5 essential skills: reading, writing, singing, writing, and playing. After the introduction and emphasis of these skills, we started with an experiment on ice, which I led. We used the scientific model, something parents were familiar with, as a model for everyday observation. “I think this ice will melt if hot water pours on it, not cold water.” This engaged children to observe and discuss what they saw instead of being told what they were seeing. It was a great experience to lead this part of the program. I have a particular affection towards babies, preschoolers, and early literacy–and nurturing curiosity!
Reading: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Listening to: Aim and Ignite by fun.
Watching: The Wire