There have been so many exciting scientific discoveries and breakthroughs in the past few years. Most recently, all the buzz is around the confirmation of gravitational waves, theorized by Einstein a century ago. The question for me as an educator is always how to share these important advances in science with students.
How does one explain a concept like gravitational waves to the very young? Particularly if you have to read several articles on it yourself to feel like you've grasped it?! Good news: you don't. No, I'm not saying that young children are not capable of learning difficult concepts, nor am I saying that science is not an important part of early childhood and elementary education. However, I am saying that what is more important when teaching kids in the years before middle school is laying a strong foundation in the sciences so that they can grasp all of these cool scientific advances when they read about them in their future textbooks.
(That said, if you live with, or teach a budding astrophysicist, there is no need to stifle their passion by not exploring these more complex concepts.)
When I was a science specialist for Preschool through 6th grade, I was often met with the incredulous response of "You teach 3 and 4 year olds science?!?" as if the idea of it was crazy. Yes, I do, and it's a lot of play and discovery. I think many people hear science and can only think of lab coats and Bunsen burners. When you teach at this level you are building the foundation that students will pull from in the more advanced years of their education. Science at this age has so much to do with forming kids' understanding of the world around them....