Preschool Pathways to Science (PrePS): Facilitating Scientific Ways of Thinking, Talking, Doing, and Understanding

Authors: Rochel Gelman Ph.D., Kimberly Brenneman Ph.D., Gay Macdonald M.A., Moises Roman

Format: Layflat, 144 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598570441
Price: $32.95

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NSTA Recommended

To ensure they're meeting state early learning guidelines for science, preschool educators need fun, age-appropriate, and research-based ways to teach young children about scientific concepts. That's just what they'll get with this hands-on guidebook! The basis for the PBS KIDS show Sid the Science Kid, this innovative teaching resource helps children ages 3–5 investigate their everyday world and develop the basics of scientific thinking—skills they'll apply across subject areas when they enter school.

A fun and engaging way to introduce science to young children, PrePS is a must-have because it

  • Is based on the domain-specific approach to cognitive development. The collaborative work of cognitive researchers and preschool educators, this approach incorporates lessons learned from developmental research and classroom experience.
  • Provides age-appropriate introduction to key science practices
  • Supports a range of cognitive and social skills. PrePS uses science to help children develop math skills, early literacy and language skills, and social and emotional sensitivity.
  • Makes the most of children's natural curiosity. PrePS isn't a rigid curriculum that asks children to memorize facts. It's a flexible, hands-on approach that helps teachers build on what children do best-actively explore their world.
  • Encourages collaboration between teachers and children. PrePS encourages children's full participation, making learning a true partnership between adults and children.
  • Enhances any curriculum. PrePS gives teachers creative new ways to support science learning and reasoning within everyday routines and lessons.
  • Taps teachers' creativity. Because PrePS is designed to energize teachers and tap in to their personal creativity, teachers who already use the PrePS approach have reported an increase in professional satisfaction.

This reader-friendly guide gives educators the guidance they need to work PrePS into their existing program; sample schedules designed for the preschool classroom; and detailed sample activities they can do right away or use as templates for their own creative lessons. And with the book's assessment guidelines, teachers will know PrePS is having a measurable effect on the classroom environment and student learning.

Start young children on PrePS today, and help them develop the critical thinking skills they'll need to succeed-in science class, in other academic subjects, and in life.

Help children learn key science practices:

  • Observe, predict, check
  • Compare, contrast, experiment
  • Vocabulary, discourse, and language
  • Counting, measurement, and mathematics
  • Recording and documenting


Review: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

"There is much to like in [the] PrePS™ curriculum...we think that such a goal of a science curriculum is needed not just in preschool, but at each level of education to promote in all scientists-in-waiting a better understanding of science as a process and institution. Researchers and policy makers alike would be wise to consider this goal for the citizens we are educating in our technologically and scientifically complex society."

Review by: Daryl Greenfield, Preschool Matters, August 2010

"If you are an early childhood administrator or educator curious about the emerging excitement around preschool science or a preschool science teacher looking to expand science in your classroom, PrePS is an easy read and a great place to start!"

Review by: Kimberly Elpers, NSTA Recommends

"A great source of ideas for teaching methods for students going into the early childhood field . . . the authors integrate theory and teaching practices in a very complete way . . . this book will be a wonderful selection for a teaching candidate's personal library."

Review by: Gail Perry, Young Children

"This approach to science offers unique insights into providing challenging learning experiences."

Review by: Herbert Ginsburg, Teachers College, Columbia University

"An important new early childhood science program based on ground-breaking research on children's thinking and learning . . . Teachers can enjoy this program as much as the children."

Review by: Susan Carey, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

"[A] wonderful, user-friendly book . . . I urge directors and teachers in preschools and day care centers to implement its splendid suggestions."

Review by: Lucia French, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

"A framework that will support thoughtful teachers in developing their own science activities that build on children's inherent curiosity about the world . . . This book should be required reading for students preparing to teach in early childhood. They will never again underestimate a young child's incredible intellectual ability."

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, Boxes, and Activities
About the Authors

1: Introduction to PrePS™

  • Science for Preschool?
  • More Competence than Meets the Eye
  • A Preview of PrePS
  • Conclusion

2: The Nature and Development of Concepts: Implications for Teaching Preschool Science

  • More about Theories
  • Theory into Practice
  • Developing the PrePS Framework
  • Flexible Plans
  • Conclusion

3: Key Science Practices

  • Observe, Predict, Check
  • Compare, Contrast, Experiment
  • Vocabulary, Discourse, and Language
  • Counting, Measurement, and Math
  • Recording and Documenting
  • Planning for the Science Practices
  • Activity 3.1: Introducing Observation
  • Activity 3.2: Making Predictions
  • Activity 3.3: The Blubber Glove Experiment
  • Activity 3.4: Animate/Inanimate Distinction Activity
  • Using Wind-Up Toys

4: Getting Started and Moving Forward

  • Getting Started with PrePS
  • Early PrePS Learning Experiences
  • Time to Explore ... an Explore Some More
  • Activity 4.1: Exploring the Functions of Senses: Comparing and Contrasting with Apples
  • Activity 4.2: Exploring the Functions of Senses: Describing Coconuts
  • Activity 4.3: Exploring the Functions of Senses: Matching Sounds
  • Activity 4.4: Exploring the Functions of Senses: Felt Weight and Balance Scales

5. Assessment

  • How Do We Know PrePS Supports Development of the Whole Child?
  • How Do We Know PrePS Supports Scientific Thinking and Understanding?
  • How Can Teachers Assess the Effects of PrePS on the Classroom Environment and on Students' Learning?
  • How Do I Know If I'm Doing It Right?
  • Some Final Thoughts

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