Building Science Skills

Kindergarten to Grade 1
Tips for Parents

  • Close observation is a primary objective of the science program. You and your child can examine a rock, a tree, a leaf, or an insect. Take turns asking, "What do I see?"

  • Observe cloud shapes together. Ask, "What shapes do you see in the clouds?"

  • Animals are part of the environment. You might ask your child to tell you the sounds animals make. "What do sheep say? Dogs? Cows? Cats? Birds?"

  • Much science education in school is related to sizes, colors, and shapes. You might ask your child to sort buttons by size (big and small), by color, or by shape. Objects can also be grouped by smooth or rough, soft or hard.

  • Animals provide opportunities to use the language of comparisons and relationships. Robins are smaller than ________, larger than _________. What do dogs and cats have in common? How are they different? What do birds have in common? How are they different? Are the feathers the same or different?

  • Walks afford many opportunities to identify objects in the environment. You can say, "What do you think that is?" "What kind of bird is that?" "Let's see how many different kinds of trees we can find in this block" (or park, or outdoor mall).

  • Children study parts of the body in school. Together you and your child can name various parts of the body: eyes, nose, ears, mouth, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, toes, feet, legs, knees. You might also inquire about the heart, lungs, blood, and bones.

  • Ask why it is important to get exercise, to rest, to drink milk, to eat well. See what your child is learning in health.

  • Bring home a package of tomato seeds and suggest that your child plant them and see if they will grow. Notice how your child goes about it. Does he or she say, "Get some soil and a pot, put the seeds in the soil, water it, place it near the light"?

  • Science in school increasingly gives attention to the sources of common things and to everyday processes. You and your child can investigate questions such as "Where does our water come from? Or "Where does our sewage go?"

Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your Kindergartner -- 1st Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.

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