There is some debate across preschool curriculums about whether or not preschool classrooms should have a science center or science work area, just as they have a housekeeping area or block area, or whether science should simply be routinely incorporated into existing work areas. For example, we can incorporate math into housekeeping as children set the table for four and we can incorporate math into blocks as we build towers of five and we can incorporate math into the water table as kids fill two cups, but we don’t generally have a math center.
I have observed this handled successfully both ways and of course some classrooms have both simultaneously. They have a dedicated science center and try to incorporate science into other centers as well. Regardless, it is important to change the materials in work areas to expand interest and learning. A new season, especially fall, can be inspiring for adding science to the preschool classroom.
Create a sensational sensory table for fall.
The sensory table, sometimes called the sand and water table, because sand or water are the primary inhabitants, can be a color and texture explosion for fall. Say goodbye to the sand and seashells of summer and fill the table with leaves, pinecones, mini pumpkins and gourds. You can take the class on a walk to collect leaves and pinecones or ask families to send in bags from their own yards.
Science can crawl and fly with spiders and bats, oh, my.
In your manipulatives center where there are lots items for learning colors, size and counting, it is time to put away some of the teddy bears counters and nesting frog families for a while. Bring out the bins of spiders and bats in honor Halloween. Kids are seeing fun Halloween decorations and singing fun and creepy Halloween songs. Reinforce the color black, count those spider legs and investigate those bat wings this fall.
Add some “seasoning” to your art area.
In the art area, think outside of the crayon box. Add a bin of leaves for leaf rubbing art. Add some jars of pumpkin seeds for gluing mosaics. Each of these activities can be introduced in your small group time and then the fall materials can be added to the art center so kids can try the process again and again.
Is your preschool library going batty?
Most preschools have a harvest full collection of books on apples and pumpkins for fall. Don’t forget the non-fiction books on spiders and bats that can help kids explore more about those new creepy, crawly manipulatives.
Stimulate the senses all around.
See the colorful mums in the window, smell the cinnamon and nutmeg in the play dough, feel the rough and smooth of the acorns, taste the pumpkin seeds, and hear the crinkly of the leaves in the sensory table. Science is all around and we can add small touches of science for all of the senses in our preschool classrooms this fall.