What is Beginner's Mind

Having 'Beginners mind' is to approach a subject enthusiastically, with openness and without preconceptions, even if you are an expert. It represents a willingness to ask questions and challenge assumptions; both essential to the scientific process.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Helping your child LOVE science

Public libraries are very comfortable helping parents understand the keys to early literacy.  Everyone wants their child to learn to read.   But, librarians are largely absent in the effort to help children achieve science literacy.  Often, librarians and parents are struggling to overcome their own science anxiety when a child asks for homework help.  Here are a few tips for both parents and librarians to encourage children to love science.
Adult and child sampling aquatic wildlife

All young children love Science.  But by Middle School, many have developed “science anxiety” preventing them from learning and enjoying these subjects.  How can you help your child keep that early enthusiasm and sense of wonder?

Here are a few tips:
  • What you say to your child is important.   The National Science Teachers Association says that parents often transmit their attitudes and expectations about science to their children.
If you tell your children “I never liked science in school or “I got my worst grades in science” you convey the expectation that science classes will be boring or difficult, or worse, that you accept low performance in science.  On the other hand, if you say “I wish I could do that experiment with you” or “I’m so glad you are having the opportunities I missed,” you will open doors for your child.  (NSTA, 2012)

  • “Let’s find out!”  Young children have a million questions; you can’t know all the answers.  But you have a role in empowering your children to explore.  And you have the opportunity of being a science role model by working with your child to discover the answers.
  • “That’s cool!” A big part of science is observing.  Pointing out interesting science things in your daily life can lead to asking great science questions.  So, take a close look at that bug before you squash it.
  • “Remember when…” Tie science into what they know. “Remember when you saw that horseshoe crab on the beach?  Here is a baby one.”
  • “I wonder…” Have science discussions at home around the dinner table. Have you heard any science news?  Ask open ended questions and find out what your child wonders about.
  • Start with your child’s personal interests. There is science in everything.  Learning is more powerful when you see how it relates to something you like.
  • Find science in something you love. Many adults have their own science anxiety to deal with.  But, we often use science without realizing it.  Conquer your own fear of science by becoming aware of those times you use science and love it.  Are you a bird watcher or a gardener?  Do you hunt or fish?  Do you like sports or work out at the gym?  Do you sew or build things?  Do you keep track of the weather?  There is science in all of these activities.  Show your kids that science is everywhere.

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