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Exploring Science with Young Children

Exploring Science with Young Children
A Developmental Perspective

First Edition

March 2016 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Association for Science Education Book Award 2016, Finalist.

Science in the early years is about more than developing understanding of key scientific concepts, it is about encouraging imagination, creativity and curiosity and nurturing key scientific skills to form a firm base for learning. Understanding how best to do this for young children aged 3-7 is the focus of the book.

By concentrating on practical and naturally occurring experiences the authors look at meeting the needs of the curriculum with children at the centre of their own learning.

Chapters look at how to work with children to:

  • Find out and develop their own ideas
  • Get them inquiring scientifically
  • Use evidence to support their views

This book will really help develop the whole child across the curriculum and make sure they have the skills they need for later learning.


CHAPTER 1: Introduction
CHAPTER 2: The Nature of Early Years Science
CHAPTER 3: Finding Out Children's Ideas
CHAPTER 4: Developing Conceptual Understanding in Science
CHAPTER 5: Working Scientifically and Developing Science Inquiry Skills
CHAPTER 6: Encouraging the Expression of Ideas
CHAPTER 7: The Uses of Technology to Support Learning
CHAPTER 8: Planning, Assessment and Record Keeping

This is a book for professional teachers. Targeted at teachers and educators concerned with teaching children from 3-7 years old, it takes a research driven reflective approach that integrates the authors’ strong philosophy about teaching and learning with concrete examples from their extensive experience as educators. Russell and McGuigan reward those teachers and practitioners who wish to reflect deeply about their work with young learners with a fulfilling goal of seeing achievement from a wholly professional perspective…

It has been very rewarding reading this book. It has provoked some new thinking on my part, and consolidated some existing ideas. I am sure many readers will also gain so much from reading it.

John Oversby, The Journal of Emergent Science, Issue 12, Winter 2016/17
The Association of Science Education

This is a super book which will be useful for practitioners working with children in the Early Years, but also useful for Primary teachers and science co-ordinators looking to develop their understanding of how science can be explored with young children.


The text is very accessible; theory is integrated well into the text and fully explained, with ample opportunities throughout for the reader to pause and reflect on what they have read and consider how it relates to their own practice or the practice discussed in the text. The 'Pauses for thought' and 'Reflection' boxes were ideally placed to facilitate this.


The photographs and samples of children's work throughout, again provided ideal opportunities for reflection on practice in the early years setting


Science has been explored in a holistic manner in the book and I very much liked how the subject is seen as an integral part of the early years classroom and also an essential part of children's development


Louise Hawxwell, Senior Lecturer in Primary Science,
Edge Hill University

 It is clear that the authors have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field and although the territory has been covered by many such texts over the years, the book presents key theories, approaches and advice in a readable an up-to-date way.

Alan Howe
British Education Studies Association Journal

A text that could prove itself to be very useful to anyone concerned with the exploration and development of the science understandings of young people (age range: 3–7 years). The information provided, combines current theory with practice and is based on up-to date research and the authors’ extensive background knowledge and experience. It would be an excellent addition to the library of anyone concerned with the science education of children in the early years.

Alex Parrington
Teaching Science

A very theory based book - from the title, I was hoping for a text which offered students ideas of activities to introduce science based theory to young children, with rationale and further learning opportunities which could be explored in the child education setting or at home.

Mrs Bernice Sutcliffe
Education , Leeds City College
June 14, 2016

I really like the Pause for Thought and Background Science sections as this allows students who are less confident in their science ability to have focus points for discussion or to mull over.

Mrs Claire Garven
Faculty of Education (Frenchay), University of The West of England
December 1, 2015

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