Fostering Mathematical and Scientific Thinking in Early Care

By Dana Brumm, An Ebenezer Child Care Curriculum Specialist

One of the primary goals of early childhood math and science curriculum is the development of scientific thinking in young children. Mathematical and scientific thinking differs from the learning of facts, but this thinking involves children in the process of discovery.

To foster mathematical and scientific reasoning, Ebenezer’s teachers view young children as active learners and give them varied opportunities to explore and experiment. Such opportunities allow children to construct meaning and develop understandings that are valuable to their ongoing development.

These opportunities are balanced between teacher planned activities to those that come out of spontaneous child initiated exploration time. Our teachers extend – or scaffold – learning by posing open-ended questions; ones that require more than a yes or no answer.

For example, a teacher might ask,” How long will it take before the snowball in the bucket melts? How many cups of water do you think we would need to fill this container?” These questions invite more reflective thinking and further experimentation on a child’s part. Additionally, teachers encourage children to explore together to foster curiosity and stimulate new ideas.

Children are naturally curious about the world and want to find out as much as they can. They want to know what makes the wind blow, how things fit together, and what happens if.., but they don’t want adults to give them the answers. They want to be the discoverers, and develop their own ideas and concepts. For young children math and science is a hands-on experience which shapes the foundation our early childhood math and science curriculum.