Natural science skills and topics

Children are often curious about nature and find things in the natural world that pique their interest. They may come up with unexpected questions.

If there are adults who can follow their interests and have a good knowledge of nature, it will be easier to cultivate children’s interests and stimulate further exploration through everyday talk.

Our results from an international questionnaire study* show that kindergarten teachers are very open, motivated and interested in science education. However, they stated that they lack basic knowledge and methods to talk to children about science. This makes them hesitant, and they often avoid talking to children about science-related topics. Since we know that science-related topics are very popular among children e.g. bugs, birds, water/snow etc., it is helpful to have some knowledge about these topics that is relevant to the environment where you live.

At the same time, having a basic level of knowledge opens up several possibilities. You might not answer the children’s questions immediately, even though you know the answer. Maybe you could ask the child what she/he thinks instead, or you may find answers together with the children. Try to find a way to keep the children curious and interested! 

The following headings might potentially give you some ideas on how to begin exploring and discussing topics in the natural sciences, starting with children’s interests and questions: 

* Unpublished master thesis by Annemarie Fritsche (Germany)