The Current Situation
I work in an institution known as Kinderjoy Kindergarten, which is located in the government housing projects for low-income citizens. The institution sources most of its students from the residents of the area, and currently, we have 180 students. The institution is partially government sponsored as well and has students from different ethnic groups. We are a total of five employees; three teachers and two supporting staff.
Features of an Effective Science Inquiry Program
Notably, young children learn by observation, whereby they notice, wonder, and explore. To use the scientific inquiry program, learners must undergo five essential steps; question formulation, exploration, explanation, conclusion, and learning. When a learner observes or notices something, they should be guided to formulate a scientific question. They should explore to look for evidence and afterward develop an explanation from the gathered information. The explanation or conclusion should be linked to scientific knowledge, which will eventually help a student to learn a new concept.
Benefits of Scientific Inquiry Program to Kinders
Scientific inquiry programs provide pedagogical and thematic learning approaches where the learner acquires knowledge of more than one subject in the process. In addition, learners learn about scientific procedures and methods, which helps them bond with the subject. Learners also gain essential life skills such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and opinion formulation. Scientific inquiry programs act as a foundation for the development of other skills.
Challenges of Science Inquiry Programs
There are several challenges that might limit the implementation of scientific inquiry programs in kindergartens. To begin with, the learners are forced to pursue their interest to investigate a question that has been raised by one of the students. These may feel selfish and uninteresting to other learners, which results in a lack of motivation. Secondly, the learners may not be sure whether they are conducting the right procedure or not. It might also be challenging to recognize the right or wrong results. Young kids are not good at teamwork and their focus time is limited.
Solutions to Challenges of Science Inquiry Programs
When a learner poses a scientific question, and the teacher finds it suitable to research it, they should first discuss the topic as a class to create interest in other students. Since kinder are young and inexperienced, the teacher should guide them through the procedure and confirm whether they are doing the right thing. The teacher should encourage the participation of all students by assigning different tasks and encouraging teamwork. Through the process, learners will encounter various challenges, and the teacher should take this opportunity to teach problem-solving skills.
A Potential Outline for Staged Implementation
The first step of the science inquiry program is staff professional learning and training. This will ensure the teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to implement the program in the classroom. They will also be advised on how to plan the science inquiry session step by step from the question selection stage to the concluding part. A strategy for implementation will be formulated. The program will be introduced using a pilot approach where one class will be used to test its viability. After the achievement of positive results in the test, the strategy will be implemented fully.
Teachers’ Training Before Execution of Science Inquiry Programs
To implement the science inquiry approach, all stakeholders must be prepared. To prepare the teachers, a staff professional learning and planning advice will be offered. In staff training, teachers should be taught how to learn science through inquiry to undergo the expected experience for the learner. They should then learn how to teach their students through inquiry. Afterward they should be taught how to make inquiry a habit. Lastly, they should know how to develop professional development programs to use in inquiry-based Learning and Teaching.
Planning Advice for Science Inquiry Session
To implement scientific inquiry program in a classroom, teachers are expected to select favorable topics and guide the learners through the process. The administration should provide the essential resources required for the process if not available. The teacher should improvise the instruments. The learners should undertake the five steps of the program through the guidance of the teacher.
The scientific inquiry approach equips learners with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They also acquire other important life skills such as communication, organization, and opinion formulation from observations. Hence teachers should improvise what they have to implement the program. They can also encourage teamwork with children to access the strategy.
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