Science in the Early Years at Fairfields
The roots of our Science curriculum at Fairfields begin in Foundation Stage through our ‘Understanding the World’ teaching. Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community.
Our Early Years curriculum enhances children’s personal experiences and increases their knowledge and sense of the natural world around them – we place great importance in developing enquiring minds and thread scientific enquiry into our teaching and learning in a playful, fun and engaging way. Our curriculum encourages lots of talk about what we see in the natural world, which in turn develops a wide scientific vocabulary in preparation for future learning.
We learn through a broad range of pictures, stories, non-fiction, rhymes, poems and first-hand experiences to foster understanding of our natural world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends the children’s familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. We know that enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
Understanding the effect of changing seasons on the natural world around them is threaded through our teaching and learning in Early Years. Discussion and observation of what we can see, feel and hear around us enables our children to engage in first hand learning and acquire key scientific vocabulary and substantive knowledge needed for KS1. We repeatedly re visit seasonal change as it occurs and use the core text, ‘Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go’ by Patricia Hegarty to facilitate discussion.
We learn about human growth and change through our ‘All about Me’ topic and develop vocabulary associated with growth and change like, ‘baby, child, teenager, adult, elderly.’ We sing songs to learn the body parts and our Jigsaw unit called; ‘Changing Me’ develops substantive human growth and change knowledge.
We make predictions, test our ideas and find out ‘why.’ In Reception our children explore changing states of matter and the effects of freezing and melting when they undertake a mission to free Supertato from the Evil Pea trapped in ice! We read, ‘Don’t Put Your finger in the Jelly Nelly’ and observe the jelly making process, talking about what we can see. We melt chocolate, predict, observe and explain what happens. In Nursery exploring forces through push and pull toys helps the children to learn how and why things work.
After reading the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs,’ we investigate which materials would be good for building houses and attempt to blow them down to see if they withstand the huff and puff of the wolf! We also investigate igloos during our ‘Around the World’ topic and attempt to build our own-super strong structures. We investigate texture of everyday materials and develop vocabulary needed to describe and discuss properties of materials.
Children learn how to plant seeds and care for growing plants. We investigate what is living in our garden and explore animals, their habitats and life cycles, and join in with the Great British Bird Watch. Our children love observing chicks hatch from eggs first-hand, frogspawn changing over time and butterflies emerging from cocoons. We investigate rockpools at the seaside and ponds in gardens through non-fiction books. We plan and teach key vocabulary around topics to support their scientific understanding and develop substantive knowledge in preparation for KS1.