SCIENCE AT PEREGRINE
SCIENCE IS A PROCESS
Our goal is to engage students in the habits and minds of scientists, rather than to teach them facts that scientists have already discovered.
QUESTIONS OF SCIENCE
The world is full of natural phenomena which children (and adults) experience daily. They make us question:
WHY is this happening?
HOW does this work?
WHAT is this?
YOUNG CHILDREN ARE NATURAL EXPLORERS
So preschool is a perfect time to expose children to the habits of mind of science. Science always starts with a real experience in the world: a plant, animal, rock, nature walk, garden exploration, or experiment in the classroom. From this experience, we challenge children to ask questions, to communicate what they see, to analyze and think clearly. Careful observation and record keeping is an important part of preschool science. Children draw what they see in the garden or classroom, and begin to label their drawings and make inferences about what they see. They communicate with each other, pool knowledge, and ask more questions.
THE ROLE OF EXPERTS AND EXPERT KNOWLEDGE
Although we engage children through experience, the process of science involves going beyond experience into thought. That is why we find “real” scientists to teach science whenever we can. A scientist leads children in questioning and in thinking analytically, so that experience transforms into scientific investigation. Peregrine classrooms have science specialists from Primaria on, and sometimes in Escuelita as well.
THINGS THAT CANNOT BE INVESTIGATED DIRECTLY
Not everything that children need to learn about science can be explored directly. But the inquiry process we use at Peregrine School can be applied to bodies of information as well as to direct experience. It is a “habit of mind” which can transfer to anything. Even young children might watch a short science video or listen to a naturalist and learn to ask questions to find out what they want to know. Older students learn to develop their own questions and do their own research, using books, internet sources, and media. The point is that they remain the active investigator, even when they use existing knowledge sources. They ask the questions, dig for answers, question the validity of these answers, and share their inquiries with their learning community.
SCIENCE FOR CITIZENSHIP
Applied science is very important at Peregrine School, because it makes inquiry “real” and unforgettable. We create “educable, edible” landscapes at our schools, so that children can explore them casually in the schoolyard and beyond. They are the creators and husbanders of these landscapes, which teach them about both basic and applied science: how to conserve water and where their food comes from, for example.