An Early Start to Science Literacy
At an early age, all children have the capacity and propensity to observe, explore, and discover the world around them (NRC 2012). These are basic abilities for science learning that can and should be encouraged and supported among children in the earliest years of their lives. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years can foster children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them and lay the foundation for a progression of science learning in K–12 settings and throughout their entire lives.
NSA is committed to building science literacy for its students from the earliest grades. It does this by providing a strong, rigorous, elementary science program for all our students. We agree with Page Keeley, former president of the National Science Teachers Association who said “Imagine what the output could be at the end of grade 12 if we all band together to strengthen our K–12 science education system to include six years of rigorous, high quality elementary science.” A 2012 survey of elementary teachers conducted by the National Science Foundation found that just 20-35% of elementary students receive science instruction each day. (Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education) We are committed to providing high quality, daily science instruction for every student enrolled at Natural Science Academy.
Features of NSA’s science program:
*Daily science instruction begins in kindergarten, science/nature concepts woven throughout the curriculum.
*Inquiry-based science learning driven by the belief that children build science literacy by exploring, raising questions and actively constructing knowledge.
* Real science equipment specially-sized for small hands allows our youngest learners an early entry point into the use of the tools of scientific investigation.
*Young scientists at NSA use science notebooks, microscopes, compasses, computers, binoculars, digital cameras, thermometers, balances and other authentic tools to explore science concepts and engage in practice of “doing science”. NSA students learn science by doing science.
*Science learning progressions provide continuity from one grade level to the next and build strong scientific literacy in NSA students.
* Emphasis on hands-on/minds-on “learning by doing” Science process skills and content knowledge is gained as learning progresses through the grade levels, as new knowledge is connected to and built upon the old.
*Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards