hildren are natural scientists. Spend time with a three-year old, and watch as they explore the world around them – poking, prying, taking apart, throwing, dropping, tasting… They have a natural insatiable desire to understand their world and what makes it tick. This is exactly what scientists do every day.
Aspen Science Center believes that the inherent natural scientist in children of all ages must be supported and encouraged. Too often, children grow to view science as something difficult and foreign, losing touch with the processes that brought them wonder and inspiration while science was an integrated, but unlabeled, piece of their learning.
We are proud to announce the development of our Preschool Education Program, which will help reinforce STEM education in early childhood learning throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, and beyond. Through identifying and addressing obstacles that hinder engagement with science, our program will provide targeted supports to maintain and reignite the initial passion that children exhibit.
We are working closely with local preschools and educators as we develop this program, which has a heavy emphasis on teacher training and support. The program is being designed from the “bottom up” to meet the needs of educators, and will integrate with existing curricula and reinforce fundamental skills such as language, math and social interactions. In this way, the program not only teaches STEM, but reinforces other areas that are crucial to early childhood development.
At its heart, this program promotes an understanding of scientific processes and critical thinking. Grounding our program in core, process-based concepts promotes a scientific way of thinking that engages children with their own learning processes and encourages growth across all area of development.
We believe our approach will break new ground in early childhood STEM learning. While resources exist for preschool STEM education, we have not found another program that combines the scientific method, adaptive activities, science literacy, and ongoing teacher support in this way.