he Aspen Science Center’s Early STEM Program is thrilled to be offering a series of summer camps for preschoolers! These camps have been designed to introduce 3 to 5 year old children to science and scientific thinking through playful investigations. Each day, children will enjoy stories, songs, movement and games which introduce them to scientific concepts. They will participate in hands-on investigations, nature walks and demonstrations that will ignite excitement and love for science. Over the course of their week long camp, children will become comfortable with new vocabulary and with a “scientific method of thinking” which encourages asking questions, forming predictions, testing and observing. Most of all, children will have FUN!
Stag Beetles, Monarch Butterflies, Luna Moths and Praying Mantis..we will look closely at and learn about the gorgeous and fascinating creatures called insects.What is an exoskeleton? Why do bees make honey? What do these creatures look like through a magnifying glass? Under a microscope? Every day will include plenty of fresh air and outdoor activities, walking field trips in nature and outdoor scavenger hunts.
Children will investigate states of matter, learning why things around us exist as solids, liquids or gas. Through a series of playful investigations we will change physical properties of things, creating steam, melting and freezing. We will also observe chemical reactions as we create slime, oobleck, volcanos, geysers, “elephant toothpaste” and more.
Children will learn about the life cycle of plants by planting, nurturing and observing
the growth of their own container gardens. We will closely examine seeds, roots, branches,
blossoms and leaves. They will learn about how these parts of a plant work to allow plants
to live and grow. We will learn about the big picture – how plants and trees are an essential
part of our natural ecosystem. Everyday will include story time, nature walks and outdoor
Black bears, elk, lynx, moose, eagles, ducks, ospreys, mountain goats, mountain sheep and bull snakes..we will learn about the lives and life cycles of our wild neighbors. Story time will feature local animals, birds and fish species. We will investigate fur, feathers, bones, shells and scales. Children will discover how these animals survive, what they eat, where they live and how they communicate. We will enjoy a walking field trip to the Sopris Ranger Station to meet a forest ranger and learn about these wonderful creatures that share our mountain home.
Kids will learn about their sense of sight and how we learn and explore the world using our eyes. We will also learn about light.. what it is, where it comes from and how and why we see it. We will experiment with mirrors, prisms, shadows and lenses. Children will have the opportunity to make their own light sensitive sun prints (cyanotypes). We will also learn about the visible light spectrum, how/why we see colors and everything you ever wanted to know about rainbows!
Children will dream up, draw, plan and build their own creative solutions to different challenges each day. Make a musical instrument, a flying machine, a marble super highway…each day will be filled with invention, design and testing. Throughout the week, through story time and demonstrations we will also be learning about what it means to reuse, repurpose and recycle materials, why it is the right thing to do and how kids can recycle and conserve in their everyday lives.
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.
This program is generously underwritten in part by