You’ve probably heard of reading corners set up in a classroom, but have you ever heard of ‘science corners’? What are science corners and are they essential to have in preschools? Similar to reading corners which act as a mini-library in the classroom or in a school, science corners are set up by teachers as an interesting way to introduce the students to the scientific world and should be of great benefit to children as these science corners often allow the learners to discover the scientific tools and materials directly and immersively.
Science corners in preschools provide children a specific learning area where they are allowed to learn by exploring and playing with science-themed apparatus and materials. As children are naturally curious, science corners are one of the best initiatives that preschool teachers can do to accommodate children’s innate curiosity by furnishing them with proper learning tools and materials to structure and guide their self-initiated investigations.
Setting up a science corner for your preschoolers is not something that takes rigorous amounts of preparation and time. Firstly, you need to choose a specific area in your preschool or classroom to set up the science corner. Simply, select an empty space in your preschool or classroom where you can begin to lay out your science corner – an area that is near a window would be optimal but if this is not available then any suitable location would do.
Just like a reading corner, you would need a shelf or a table that can be used as a place to set up all the scientific tools and materials. If you would like the children to have easy access to the tools and materials, choose furniture that is not too tall and child-safe as you don’t want to risk accidents. You can place a circle mat on the floor where the children can sit and play on. Otherwise, you can also set up small tables and chairs for them.
You can begin by decorating the area – this is up to your own creativity. Some teachers make sure the decorations are according to monthly themes such as putting up a food pyramid poster during the month where children are learning about food and nutrition. Some teachers might not have the privilege of time so decorations are only renewed yearly. Again, this is entirely up to you. There are so many science-themed educational posters for preschools that you can purchase in book stores or online. These are easy and informative at the same time as children love visual aids and learn quickly by observing their surroundings.
Other than visual aids, you certainly want this science corner to be an area where the children can experience and explore so hands-on tools and materials will be crucial when setting up science corners in preschools. Include scientific items that allow the children to use and explore their surroundings such as magnifying glass, torchlight, insects and animal figurines, and magnets. Other items to include in a science corner can be:
- Science books
- Measuring spoons and cups
- A small scale
- Measuring tape
- Small mirrors
- Tongs and tweezers
- Sorting trays
- Test tubes
- A pet such as a hamster or a goldfish
Just make sure that when dealing with children, safety is very important and you need to make sure that none of these items in the science corner pose a choking hazard.
Which is why it is important to establish rules when you set up a science corner in a preschool. The teacher has to make clear to the children what they can and cannot do in the science corner such as putting back the items where they belong after using them and make sure they handle the items carefully. For younger children, it is better if a teacher is around to supervise them at all times.
Setting up science corners in preschools are not only beneficial for children but also for the teachers. It is nice to have a designated area where you are able to find all the tools and materials that you might need for your science class. It is a good way to organize your science teaching and learning aids. Having a science corner keeps the teachers up to date and in check of the tools and materials that are available for them to use for their own science class – it also helps the teachers to keep track of what is unavailable so they can just add on until your preschool science collection is complete.
Setting up science corners should definitely be a team effort for all teachers of the preschool as the tools and materials belonging to the science corner can be of great use to teach science to children of all ages. If there is a time and work constraint among all teachers, the school principal or administrator can look for preschool science providers such as Alfa and Friends which offers the Little Scientists programme – a STEM-focused preschool curriculum that provides preschools with a structured syllabus for the subject of science.
The Little Scientists programme comes with its own set lesson plan for the teachers, student workbooks, an educational app, as well as a complementary science corner! Sp, by subscribing to programmes such as the Little Scientists, preschool teachers would not have to worry about the work that comes into setting up a science corner in their preschool as the programme came supplied and provided with all the science tools and materials that are needed to successfully construct a hands-on, exploration science center in any preschool.