Why is science important in young kids' lives?
At a glance
- Science involves a lot of communication with other people.
- Science develops patience and perseverance in kids.
- It can help kids form a healthy dose of scepticism.
- Science teaches kids about the world around them.
- Science can spark in kids' minds that they, too, can help solve the world's big problems.
Science helps answer all those tough questions kids ask, like ‘Why is the sky blue?' and 'Where do stars come from?'
Parent and former high school science teacher Wendy Stacey says science is the perfect subject to complement a child's natural curiosity.
"It's practical and relevant and kids embrace it without thinking about it," she says.
"Science helps answer all those questions kids ask, like ‘Why is the sky blue?' and ‘How come that pine cone falls down?'"
So when Wendy had the opportunity to help raise funds for science equipment at her children's school through the P&C, she didn't think twice.
"Everyone was enthusiastic, from the teachers to the parents. Because they knew that even simple science equipment can liven up a topic and make it easier for children to engage with it."
Science teaches kids about life
The benefits of learning about science for young kids are enormous, says Kevin Squires, a teacher at Tamworth Public who is employed especially to teach science at the school.
"Science involves a lot of talking and listening to others; it develops patience, too – a lot of the time in science things don't happen overnight," he says.
Add to the mix are skills for life such as perseverance, problem-solving and researching.
It can teach children to form their own opinions, rather than taking those of others for granted. Australian Institute of Policy & Science
"It helps kids to think about what could happen before they do it, to create a hypothesis in their mind. Then kids learn that not everything works the first time. Some experiments fall in a heap and you have to find out what went wrong, and try again," Kevin says.
Science in school also teaches kids about the way the world works eg, how clothes are made or why volcanoes erupt.
It can spark ideas in kids' minds that they, too, may one day be capable of creating solutions to big problems such as reducing poverty through the improvement of seed genetics to grow stronger crops, Kevin says.
Science jobs for the future
Camille Thomson, who works on Australian Institute of Policy & Science's Tall Poppy Campaign, a project to promote science in Australia, says there will be plenty of exciting and worthwhile jobs for kids who study science in the future.
"When we look at science and the discoveries that come through, we've only scratched the surface," Camille says.
Jobs in renewable energies such as solar and hydropower are increasing rapidly. Then there is the conversation that goes with it in terms of preserving plants and animals.
"There is always going to be the study of different habitats as well as the increase in technology in renewable energies," she says.
Medical research is also going to escalate. Even now, scientists are developing the ‘shoulders' that future scientists will stand on in terms of cures for diseases.
Importantly, encouraging children to become interested in science can also result in a healthy dose of scepticism, Camille adds.
"It can teach kids to form their own opinions rather than take those of others for granted. In science you're taught to go about getting a whole lot of information from different people and sources – experts, teachers – it's not just Googling for the answer online," she says.
"It's about saying, ‘I've looked at a whole lot of things and made my own opinion'."
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