Science is an activity that promotes all areas of children’s development, yet many of us are limited in the space in our classroom or we have to share space, which limits what we can leave in our classrooms each day.
But, we KNOW it is important! Science is not an endless memorization of concepts, discoveries technologies, etc. Science is, for preschoolers, the learning and understanding of the world around them in meaningful ways.
Science knowledge is vast and could not all be taught by the time a preschooler graduates from high school.
As early childhood educators, we have a wonderful opportunity each day to provide an environment in which children can explore the world around them. Our role is to encourage investigation and observation through activities where cause and effect can be practiced. But how do we do this in the space that we call our classroom home?
Many preschool classrooms have what are referred to as Interest Learning Centers. These are areas such as the Block Area, Dramatic Play Area and so on. A Science or Discovery Interest Center is popular in most classrooms. However, the Science Center is usually the first one dropped out of planning because of lack of space.
Don’t let space constraints stop you! Science is fun, but what if you don’t have enough physical space in your classroom to dedicate to a Science Interest Center? Don’t give up–all it takes is a bin and a table!
Plan for science–both open-ended, informal activities where the children freely explore the materials you have out for them and through formal activities where perhaps you do an experiment with small groups.
Once you’ve planned your activity or activities for the week, obtain a small or medium plastic bin with a cover.
Collect the materials you’ll need for your science area and place them in that bin.
Place the bin or the materials from the bin on a table or other area in your classroom.
At the end of your morning or day, simply place the items back in the bin for the next day!
That is how you set up a Science Center with limited space. Sure, it is not permanent, but you will have great activities going on and not have to “give up” science just for lack of space.
Therefore, even with limited space, continue planning for science activities for your students using both traditional AND non-traditional themes!