I'm excited to share some thoughts on science in the Pre-school and early Elementary years today in addition to introducing you to Rozzy and Friends whose work focuses on this age group.
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Rozzy and Friends is an educational company whose aim is to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experiences to young children, particularly girls, ages 2-6. Exposure to STEM is just as important as language arts in early childhood education. The ideas that are inherent in STEM concepts and future careers in STEM fields are innate in young children: curiosity, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
In addition to developing and bringing STEAM (STEM plus Art!) curricula to schools, Rozzy and Friends has also published a book to engage young students in the scientific process. Maggie the Magnifying Glass is the story of a young girl who has a pretty magical adaptation: she IS a magnifying glass. Throughout the interactive story, Maggie describes how she makes scientific observations to find their lost class pet, a ladybug.
I particularly like how the book begins with a place to write the owners name. It says: "This book belongs to Scientist: _________________". Insuring from the get-go that the reader understands that they are a scientist too. The book depicts a wide range of characters that just about any reader could relate to.
I enjoyed that the text was interactive, in that statements are written to promote children's thinking and teach them how they might investigate something scientifically. The student's teacher Miss Rozzy suggests they think like scientists when their ladybug goes missing. They need to ask questions and use tools, like magnifying glasses. From then on, the kids are guiding the investigation, not the adults. The book ends with Maggie's tutorial on how to use a magnifying glass.
I did find Maggie's magnifying glass face to be a little off-putting, but that might just be me as an adult over-thinking things! I think that students might find her super power exciting, but I also believe that having a strong, young female character who was interested in using scientific tools would be just as engaging to young girls, regardless of super power. That caveat aside, I think that Rozzy and Friends is on the right track in terms of depicting children engaged in the scientific process, particularly girls, and promoting the idea that we are all scientists.
To learn more about Rozzy and Friends and to see their engaging school programs in action, visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about their STEAM curriculum contact them through the Rozzy and Friends webpage. If you are interested in buying copies of Maggie the Magnifying Glass for your children or classroom they are available for purchase here.
Many preschool activities lend themselves conveniently to STEM. Students are naturally curious and in a stage where they are developing an understanding of the world around them, often through experimentation. More and more excellent resources are being developed to aid in formalizing STEM education in schools and at home.
If you are interested in promoting STEM learning with your young students or children, you might want to check out the resources from Bright Horizons, or the Boston Children's Museum's Preschool curriculum: STEM Sprouts.
In addition to some excellent programming depicting kids who take part in the scientific process, like Sid the Science Kid, PBS has some excellent tips for encouraging girls in STEM found here. You may also want to read my post, "Science Teaching Toolbox: Girl Power! Getting (and keeping!) Girls Interested in Science."
Note: I was sent a complimentary copy of Maggie the Magnifying Glass but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions throughout are my own.