The Little Scientists

Certain preschools are piloting a new program that incorporates science into all aspects of the curriculum. At Parkland Elementary School, the afternoon prekindergarten class offers a new snack item: strawberry-flavored Jell-O with moon and star shapes. While this treat may appeal to picky eaters, teacher Sheryl O’Shea chose it to complement the students’ study of color and light. The transparent Jell-O allows the children to explore the concept of translucency. Parkland Elementary, part of the Greece Central school district near the city of Greece, is one of several schools in the area that have embraced a science-based approach to teaching preschool. Rather than sporadic science experiments, these schools incorporate science into every aspect of the 2.5-hour school day.

In O’Shea’s classroom, even the play area is connected to the current science lessons on the sun, moon, and stars. The children imagine themselves camping under the stars, write letters to their loved ones, and learn about nocturnal animals. Developed by Lucia French, a professor at the University of Rochester, this approach to teaching preschool, called ScienceStart!, marks a departure from traditional early childhood education methods. Instead of treating science as magic, ScienceStart! aims to explain the scientific principles behind everyday phenomena. French’s research has shown that incorporating science, along with quality literature, into the curriculum can improve children’s literacy skills.

Through the ScienceStart! program, children at Parkland Elementary are exposed to vocabulary words that are typically beyond the comprehension of preschool and early elementary students. Assessments conducted as part of French’s research support this observation.

However, an early childhood education expert warns that the success of the program depends on the teachers’ interest in science. If the teachers themselves are not enthusiastic about science, it is unlikely that the children will be either.

This examination of the characteristics of matter, a component of the French curriculum, continues during interactive group discussions. Here, children engage in sensory experiences such as finger-painting to explore smooth textures, and they use materials like rice, sand, glitter, and pasta to create artwork with rough textures. French suggests that teachers abandon units centered around themes and holidays, as these often result in fragmented and superficial approaches to preschool curriculum. However, Pat Swedrick, a pre-K teacher at Audubon School No. 33, has successfully integrated discussions on scientific concepts of softness and hardness with activities related to Black History Month and other subjects like music.

In order to address these topics, Swedrick incorporates the use of a "rain stick," a long wooden tube filled with rice or beans that is associated with African rituals. Through this tool, she teaches her students about soft and hard sounds. The children showcase their understanding by playing drums and tapping sticks together, varying the force to produce different levels of sound. Swedrick emphasizes that with careful planning and the use of appropriate literature, various events and topics can be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum.

Sheila Murphy, a special education teacher at School 33, demonstrates the scientific inquiry process by asking her students to make predictions. She gathers various materials such as paper, feathers, cotton balls, a wooden toy iron, and places them in front of an electric fan. Before turning on the fan, she asks the children near her what they think will happen. This step aligns with French’s program, which teaches children how to plan, observe, and reflect on their actions and experiences. When the fan is switched on, one of the children is delighted to see how far the cotton ball is blown across the room. Murphy mentions that one student in her class overcame his fear of hand dryers in the school bathroom by working with the fan.

"I like that we can teach kids not to be afraid of spiders and to appreciate the beauty of rocks," Murphy says, highlighting the positive impact of the curriculum. Other educators also emphasize important lessons learned through the program. Marie Munier, another pre-K teacher at School 33, praises the program for instilling respect for tools such as magnifying glasses and flashlights. Instead of storing them away after a lesson, she now keeps them accessible for children to use regularly.

Swedrick mentions that her students look forward to exploring the garden outside their classroom with clipboards and crayons in hand. They collect data by observing the growth of plants and flowers, identifying blooms, and noting the presence of bugs and birds. The children are encouraged to draw pictures based on their observations. School No. 33 is one of the schools where ScienceStart! is implemented in five out of seven pre-K classrooms. It serves as a space for refining and enhancing French’s curriculum as teachers collaborate and exchange ideas.

During a conversation with teachers, French discovers that they are facing challenges when presenting the concept of liquids without a solid for comparison. Some children have asked if sand is a liquid because it can be poured. French’s attempts at conducting a controlled study in the school have been compromised as teachers who initially did not use the curriculum became interested and incorporated the units into their teaching. Parents also play a role in the ScienceStart! approach, as they receive simple experiments in plastic baggies to engage in open-ended activities with their children. These "ZipKits" foster a connection between home and school, and teachers follow up with parents to discuss the effectiveness of the activities.

Overall, ScienceStart! has proven to be a valuable curriculum that promotes hands-on learning and enhances understanding of scientific concepts among young children. The integration of various subjects and the involvement of both teachers and parents contribute to a well-rounded educational experience.

"School science should be enjoyable, and preschool science should be even more enjoyable," she states. Douglas adds that although there is a growing interest in science within the preschool community, it remains an untapped market. An additional $2 million grant was awarded to the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusets, to develop a science curriculum for preschoolers. Now in its third year of development and testing, "Science Explorations: Engaging Young Children in Inquiry" focuses on introducing children to the scientific potential of materials commonly found in early childhood classrooms. "There are always building blocks in the classroom, there’s always the outdoors, and there’s always water," says Karen Worth, a senior scientist at the EDC. "Science can truly become the foundation of early childhood classrooms." The issue, she explains, is that many preschool teachers don’t go beyond isolated science activities. Simply having a "science table" doesn’t encourage children to delve deeper, according to Worth. "They are capable of much more cognitively." Instead of only building block towers, children using the program should be introduced to concepts of balance and equilibrium, recommends Worth. She also suggests that children should document their creations through photographs and drawings to observe the changes over time.

"Our goal is to enhance teachers’ vocabulary and improve the language they use with the children," says Adam Rosen, an early childhood specialist at the EDC. The original objective of the EDC was to develop science standards for preschoolers, similar to the process undertaken for other subjects in early education. However, the organization later decided that it would be more appropriate for a national organization to handle this task. As a result, the EDC will publish a book demonstrating how preschool teachers can adapt the K-12 national science standards developed by the National Academy of Sciences. A science-based approach to early childhood education extends beyond center- and school-based programs. The Vermont Center for the Book, a nonprofit organization that promotes learning through books, is training family child-care providers in Vermont and Philadelphia on integrating scientific concepts and experiences into book discussions. "We’re improving the teachers’ vocabulary, and we’re improving the language that they use with the children," says Rosen. He adds that many teachers find it empowering. While the center also trains preschool teachers, Rosen states that home-based providers are often able to quickly adapt their practices. In another family-literacy project called "Mother Goose Asks Why?" run by the Vermont Center, parents of young children read books that present scientific ideas and work with related materials, similar to French’s ZipKits.

Jo Anna Vasquez, a science education consultant and past president of the National Science Teachers Association, states that although French’s research focuses on the literacy benefits of a science-based program, early exposure to scientific concepts can help children build the foundational knowledge they will need in elementary school. "They are building a foundation for those process skills and observation skills," says Vasquez. "It’s about learning to ask the right questions." American children generally perform well in science up until the 4th grade. Results from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress science test showed that 66 percent of 4th graders scored above the "basic" level, and 29 percent performed above the "proficient" level. Additionally, 4th graders in the United States were ranked among the best in the world in the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study. However, as American children grow older, their science skills decline significantly compared to their international peers. This is why experts believe that encouraging children to think and talk about science in preschool can establish a strong foundation for future success in the subject. To achieve this, experts emphasize the importance of training teachers to regularly incorporate science into early childhood education.

Your assignment is to rephrase the entire content using improved vocabulary and ensure its uniqueness with natural language. The resulting text should be in English. Here is the original text to be rephrased:

Original Text:


"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

The sentence above is a famous example often used to showcase all the letters of the English alphabet in a single sentence. It is a pangram, a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet at least once. The purpose of such sentences is to demonstrate the legibility and typographic qualities of different typefaces and fonts.

This particular sentence is constructed in a way that efficiently utilizes the available letters to form words and convey a coherent meaning. The adjective "quick" describes the speed of the action performed by the subject, the noun "fox," while the adjective "lazy" characterizes the dog’s lack of energy or motivation. By using a common and relatable scenario of a fox jumping over a dog, the sentence creates an engaging and vivid mental image for the readers.

This well-known sentence has been widely adopted and accepted by English language enthusiasts and typographers. It continues to serve as a valuable tool in typography and is often used as a practical example for various language-related purposes.


Rephrased Text:


"The speedy brown fox leaps over the indolent canine."

The sentence provided above exemplifies the complete set of English alphabet letters, and it is frequently utilized to showcase this feature. Referred to as a pangram, it is a sentence that encompasses all letters of the alphabet at least once. The purpose behind such sentences is to exhibit the readability and typographical qualities of diverse fonts and typefaces.

This specific sentence has been skillfully constructed to efficiently utilize the available letters and convey a coherent meaning. The adjective "speedy" describes the swiftness of the fox, which acts as the subject in this sentence’s context. Furthermore, the adjective "indolent" characterizes the lack of energy or motivation displayed by the dog. By employing a common and easily relatable scenario of a fox leaping over a dog, the sentence effectively creates a captivating and vivid mental image for the readers.

This well-known sentence has been widely embraced and recognized by English language enthusiasts and typographers. It continues to fulfill its purpose as a valuable tool in the field of typography, frequently used as a practical example for various language-related endeavors.


  • kianstafford

    Kian Stafford is a 39 year old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching for over 10 years and has worked in a variety of different positions. Kian has an extensive knowledge of education, both online and in-person, and has written extensively on education topics. He is also a member of several education organizations, and has been involved in many educational initiatives.



Kian Stafford is a 39 year old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching for over 10 years and has worked in a variety of different positions. Kian has an extensive knowledge of education, both online and in-person, and has written extensively on education topics. He is also a member of several education organizations, and has been involved in many educational initiatives.