Science Resources for Early Childhood Educators

Children’s natural curiosity and innate sense of wonder mean they are driven scientists. Children want to explore, observe, question, ponder and discover – and as they do, they are growing their scientific understanding and skills.  

Our resources help educators nurture children’s inner scientists. They promote integrated, holistic and flexible approaches to science in early childhood education. Most importantly, they believe in children’s capacity to engage in science.  

Expand the possibilities for science learning in your early childhood setting with A Sense of Wonder and Eyes Wide Open. You may just make some discoveries of your own.  


What science skills do children develop?  

In the early years, the science skills children develop are an affinity and ability to observe, explore and discover the world around them.  

As ACARA (2011) says, “Engaging with science starts in early childhood as young children explore their environment and start to make sense of the natural world that surrounds them. Early childhood educators need to tap into and extend upon the innate sense of wonder that children possess as they delight in their discoveries.” 

As children explore and experiment with their surroundings, they experience various science process skills. These include observing, questioning, predicting, comparing, identifying, measuring, classifying and communicating. 

For example, playing in the natural outdoor environment gives opportunities to explore how things move, investigate the water flow, recognise different textures and make predictions about things they see. 

Additionally, early childhood science allows children to organise and communicate what they have learnt and to know the difference between concrete and abstract ideas.  

How do educators teach science to young children? 

First and foremost, educators teach science to young children by respecting each child’s natural curiosity as they attempt to explain their world. Eyes Wide Open, a science in early childhood book, takes this approach.  

The early years science activities and experiences in the resource place “young children as natural scientists.” Educators should encourage active involvement of children in their own learning through play and guided inquiry. 

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) promotes intentional teaching as a pedagogical practice in early childhood education.  

Within the context of science in early childhood, this involves educators modelling curiosity and open-ended thinking. For example, “I wonder why…?”  

Intentional teaching also involves providing rich learning environments with opportunities for creative science inquiry. The environments should incorporate open-ended materials, and educators should guide learning rather than take over.  

Science inquiry can be either child or educator-initiated, as it says in A Sense of Wonder. The child might notice, wonder or share, while the educator could engage an interest, set up an experience or pose a question.  

From this, a “wonder” emerges. Then, the educator encourages learning by recognising the scientific possibilities and posing further questions.  

Important to inquiry is a reflection of the science learning that has occurred.  

Why teach science in early childhood? 

Educators should teach science in early childhood because it supports children’s natural curiosity and interest in the world around them.  

Additionally, it introduces them to scientific thinking and skills like observing and predicting. As the Australian Council of Education Research (ACER, 2020) says, science education is not just learning facts. It is a way of thinking and developing skills to understand the world. 

Science inquiry skills (like predicting) teach children it is okay to fail and that learning can come from making mistakes. Encouraging these skills at a young age will help children further develop these dispositions as they get older (ACER, 2020).  

Positive early childhood science experiences can also aid the development of scientific literacy as children grow up. For example, young girls who show science-related interests tend to have higher achievement in science later (Education Review Office, 2021).