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I know I could never have a "Science Lab" with a Science Teacher... but I want to give the kids some place to go and investigate, explore and learn about nature. I got so many ideas and can't wait to implement them. I only have 5 kids, so I know my center doesn't have to be as elaborate as some of the ones I saw, but I want to give enough opportunity for the kids to explore. Plus, having toddlers thru preschoolers using the area gives me another obstacle to overcome. I am planning to have a toddler shelf and a preschool shelf. I will put the smaller things or items Little Miss M cannot safely touch out of reach and only bring them down when they can be used with an adult.
I noticed that each Science Center had something for every one of the senses (except taste). The children could choose from things to smell, touch, listen too, and see. There were bins to experiment in, trays to keep items from slipping away and defining spaces, and enough material that each child could experiment with. These are the components I will keep in mind when I go about setting my center up.
The last session, of the conference, I took was "Early Learning Einsteins." There was 3 teachers, 2 Science Lab Teachers and a 3's Teacher. They gave us ideas of how they used Science in the classroom and lab. Basically, they went over the resources they used, different ways to present science, and then some experiments they have done. One experiment was putting a votive candle in a small amount of colored water, you light the candle, put a glass jar over the candle, and watch as the water is sucked into the jar as the candle uses up the air. I knew the the candle would go out if you put a jar over it, but I didn't know the water would be sucked up into the jar. Also, the same would be true with a peeled hard boiled egg. If you put the candle in a jar (skinny neck) and light it, then put the egg over the opening of the jar... the egg gets sucked in... sorry I may be really behind in the times... but I never heard of that before. See what I mean, I have a lot to brush up on when it comes to Science!!! :) They also stressed that science can be added into almost any part of the day. It doesn't have to be elaborate or even hard, just give the kids opportunities to explore, ask questions and experiment with just about anything. I know having my sensory table I do this, but I can't wait to give them more.
One of the teachers showed us how she collected her own bugs in little plastic containers, so she didn't have to waste money on the Encased Bugs from Lakeshore Learning. She also showed us all the pictures she cut out of magazines and newspapers, that the kids loved, for her science center. Then, I can't believe I didn't get a photo of this, teeth they made out of the bottom of liter soda bottles, they cut the bottoms off, painted the inside of the bottle white, then she put the "tooth" in Styrofoam as the gums. The kids could take them out and brush them for a dental activity... so cute.
I have to Thank the Teachers at Calvary Church Child Development Center for the beautiful rooms they displayed for all of us attending the conference and the ability to SHARE them with us!!! I learned a lot from how they set them up and hope I can implement so much more into my own Childcare Home from what I learned!!!