Very young children demonstrate a natural interest in exploring ‘everyday’ mathematical and scientific concepts. From counting most things they interact with, to creating patterns with different colours and building blocks of all shapes and sizes.
The earlier years of a child’s life are the most imperative years. Simply put, a child’s early years lay the foundation for all that is to come. Sandisa Maqubela from Engenius comments, “These early explorations and engagement in associated thinking processes serve as foundations for learning as children continue toward more formal understandings.” She continues. “Although mature understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts requires further cognitive development, teachers and parents can support learning by encouraging preschoolers to reason mathematically and scientifically, to explore concepts in these domains, and to explain their thinking as they do”
What A (En)Genius!
Engenius is a programme by the Engineering Council of South Africa, used as a channel to communicate the importance of maths and science to inspire children, regardless of their age. Engenius understands, and strongly encourages a firm foundation within the early childhood development phase of the lives of children. The early childhood development phase of a child should most certainly not be overlooked or deemed as a phase where the external environment does not play a role in.
Children have very positive attitudes toward mathematics and science during the preschool years. Maqubela states that it is essential to take advantage of these opportunities and encourage students to use mathematics and logical thinking to solve problems. These positive attitudes toward learning contribute to future success in and out of school and perhaps shape your children to be an engineer.
For young learners, science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore through play because they do it naturally. Therefore it is vital to ensure that we create amazing experiences that encourage discovery through play, asking questions, exploration and using creativity to solve simple problems. The fact is that our actions today in the area of early childhood science education will have a greater impact on growing next generation engineers. Early childhood experiences have a great impact and influence on a child’s potential to seek out a career in science or engineering than any other grade level.
For more information on Engenius, which makes up part of the Engineering Council of South Africa,
SOURCE: ENGINEERING COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA.