• Ready, Set… Explore!

    Written by

    Ready, Set… Explore!

    Science is about trying to make sense of the world. The idea of explaining science to young children can feel overwhelming to many adults. But luckily, explanations about science aren’t what young children want at first. They want to play! Curiosity drives children’s interest in science and we can all appreciate curiosity. So where do we start?

    witf and Whitaker Center For Science and the Arts invite you and your 3-7 year old to join us for Ready, Set…Explore, a series of Saturday morning science play dates where you and your child can spend time together and play with science. Each event is shaped around a science concept and a well-loved PBS character who will be at the event to explore along with you. All events are held in the beautiful Kunkel Gallery in Whitaker Center in Harrisburg specific Saturdays from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM. The events are free for families thanks to some wonderful community partners. Just RSVP by clicking the link below.

    Upcoming Ready, Set…Explore dates:

    tv george standing 

    April 21, 9-11 AM-- Explore wind and weather with Curious George

    This Ready, Set…Explore event was really fun and very successful.  We had 286 people there and heard nothing but positive comments from families, Whitaker Center, PNC (our sponsor), and our awesome volunteers. 

    Curious George event is sponsored by:
    PNCGrow 600

    May 19, 9-11 AM—Go on a backyard adventure with Cat In The Hat
    RSVP for the May event - click here

    • Explore spider webs
    • Learn about worms
    • Make some tracks
    • Get your photo taken with the Cat In The Hat (bring a camera!)
    • and much more!
    Cat In The Hat event is sponsored by:
    m  t bank logo600

    Get ready to ask questions and explore science with your child!

    Other tips from PBS Parents:

    Science is not simply about knowing information—it is equally a way of trying to make sense of the world. Scientists must ask questions, design investigations, try to make sense of the information they have gathered during the investigations, and communicate and defend their thinking to others. They don’t always find the answers to their questions, and they don’t always agree.

    Help Children Think Like Scientists

    It is much more important for parents to help children develop the skills they need to think like scientists than to help them understand complex scientific concepts. Even the youngest children are quite capable of beginning to build these skills. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you enjoy science alongside your child:

    • You don’t need to have answers for all of your child’s questions! Encourage your child to develop his own science thinking skills.
    • Listen carefully to your child. Engage her in conversation about what she thinks, and encourage her to explain why she thinks as she does by asking questions such as, “Why do you think the snail is eating that leaf?”
    • Don’t immediately correct your child. If your child says something scientifically incorrect, help her discover for herself what is correct rather than correcting her. For example, if she says “heavy things sink, you can ask her, “Which heavy things have you seen sink?” Or, “I wonder if we can find something heavy that can float?”
    • Model curiosity. Wonder aloud: “I wonder what will happen to this pudding mix when we put the water in?”

    Published in Education

    Tagged under Education

    Monday, 13 Feb 2012 18:31

  • TEDx Enola, an education event

    Written by Debbie Riek

    TEDx Enola, an education event "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

    ― Albert Einstein

    The human brain likes to group and organize everything. It makes us more comfortable when things fit. We compare new experiences to old experiences unconsciously, trying to find a link, trying to make things make sense. Sometimes, as grownups who care and work with children, we find ourselves grouping them that way as well. We talk about "typical learners", as though that exists, and "typical development". Though we can point to developmental benchmarks, especially in very young children and those benchmarks can help us support children more effectively, we need to be careful with labels.

    In her book "Raising A Left-Brained Child in A Right Brain World", Katharine Beals points to the danger of labeling children, including her own three children and asks the question, "Why does my inquisitive child dislike school?" For Beals, the answer is the child's approach to learning. Beals describes left-brained children as shy, transition-wary, children who may prefer to work alone, or may express intense interests in one particular topic. She highlights the struggles these children may have in social aspects of school or collaborative work and calls on families and teachers to see the value in alternative approaches to learning.

    For me, it was a particularly interesting perspective as I see the struggles of one of my daughters who, in Beal's definition, would be "right brained". Intuitive, spontaneous and creative, my daughter struggles to understand the need for assessments, testing, and "right answers". So to me, the question really is "Is there a typical learner?"

    Teachers have a tough job. Differentiating or individualizing instruction to meet the needs of 25 or more people with differing approaches or styles of learning is an arduous if not sometimes impossible task. Families and teachers need to work together to share what we know about our children and to listen to each other, free from labels. One place to start is to spend time is family conferences discussing learning style not just learning outcomes. Teachers support the idea of families observing student learning. Creating a shared understanding of your child's strengths and weaknesses benefits the teacher, the family and the child. We need to approach our children as Einstein calls us to—geniuses who may be fish trying to climb trees.

    Click here for more from Katharine Beals and other brain research experts, and learn about TEDx Enola

    Published in Education

    Wednesday, 1 Feb 2012 22:07

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