NSTA Adopts Policy Position on Early Childhood Science Education
Monday, March 03, 2014
Susan Catapano, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at the Watson College of Education, recently led a 10-member national committee charged with developing a position statement for the National Science Teachers Association on early childhood science education.
Position statements identify qualities and standards for teaching and learning used to enhance science education at all levels. The statement developed by the committee became a formal position of the association in January after a unanimous vote by the NSTA board.
NSTA’s new early childhood position supports earlier findings that children from a very early age have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore and discover the world around them. It also affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment of science during P-12 schooling and beyond.
Research findings indicate that while young children have the capacity for conceptual learning and the ability to reason and inquire, many adults, including educators, underestimate this capacity and fail to provide the opportunities and experiences for young children to focus on science explorations. NSTA’s position outlines several key principals to guide the teaching and learning of science among young children.
The position focuses primarily on children from age 3 through preschool and complements the association’s position statement on elementary school science.
The NSTA, founded in 1944, is committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA is the largest organization of its kind in the world with a membership of 55,000 teachers, scientists and business representatives.