Thirty-five early childhood teachers were actively engaged in exploring early childhood science concepts through pre-primary children’s literature during a early childhood teacher training workshop on a recent Saturday in June. The teachers attended a full-day hands-on-minds-on standards-based early childhood teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski. The goal of this particular workshop Teaching Science Through Pre-Primary Children’s Literatureis to introduce teachers to how to incorporate children’s literature in the classroom to teach science concepts. Teachers conducted many hands-on explorations to investigate early child science concepts through pre-primary children’s literature. Additionally, teachers used a variety of scientific and mathematical tools in their explorations of a wide-array of science and mathematical concepts. Throughout the day teachers were introduced to approximately 100 children’s books written by popular children’s authors that can be used in the classroom to reinforce science concepts. Teachers explored the behavior of soap bubbles by making numerous bubble blowing contraptions. Teachers observed and touched live pill bugs, earthworms, and garden snails, and then read children’s literature that have science themes connected to exploring common invertebrates found in gardens, backyards, and school yards. Beach and sand toys were used to explore the concepts of erosion, weathering, and the rock cycle. Several children’s books that cover beach geology, erosion, weathering, and the rock cycle include:
Sand by Ellen Prager and Beach Day by Karen Roosa. Teachers also dissected a dried whelk egg case to observe how offspring resemble their parents as well as observing that all animals that are born with shells make their own shell, aside from the Hermit Crab. Teachers were introduced to numerous children’s literature books that cover animal coverings, sea shells, and marine life including: What Lives in a Shell by Weidner Zoehfeld, A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle, Seashells by The Seashore by Marianne Berkes, Is This a House for Hermit Crab? by Megan McDonald, Clam I Am by Tish Rabe, and several other children’s books. Teachers explored botanical concepts including seed and leaf types, and seed dispersal. There are many wonderful children’s books that cover botanical concepts including: Oh Say Can You Seed? by Bonnie Worth, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carole, From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer, Apples by Gail Gibbons, A Dandelion’s Life by John Himmelman, The Reason For A Flower by Ruth Heller, How A Seed Grows by Helene Jordan, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, I Can Name 50 Trees by Bonnie Worth, and many others. Teachers also explored force, motion, and energy concepts by using toy cars, trucks, and ramps, related children’s literature books were also introduced. The workshop was a great success, the participants were actively engaged in the learning process throughout the entire session. At the end of the full-day session participants left the workshop with numerous models they had constructed to reinforce specific science concepts and principles, art work from their observations, a manual, and prizes won from raffles that took place throughout the session, and we all know that teachers love to “win cool stuff” to bring back to share with their students. Once again, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to have met such a great group of dedicated and professional early childhood teachers as well as the very dedicated administrative support of the Early Childhood Coalition.