Our science curriculum begins with an introduction to living and non-living things. The children learn that living things need air, water and food. They practice sorting pictures and objects of living things such as a tree, a cat and a human with non-living things such as a teacup, a dump truck and a block. The children explore the natural environment and discover things like birds and plants are living and things like rocks and dirt are non-living.
Next, we explore the concept of plants and animals. Though both plants and animals are living things, they are very different. One morning during circle, we discussed how plants take in their food through their roots while animals eat food with their mouths. The children watched in awe as Holly pulled a plant out of its pot revealing the roots. They giggled with excitement as she fed Madeline, our pet hamster, a piece of apple. Holly asked the children, “Are we (humans) plants or animals?” One child proudly raised her hand to share, “We are animals like Madeline. We eat food with our mouths!”
“Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants and especially of animals. Nothing awakens foresight in a small child such as this. When he knows that animals have need of him, that little plants will dry up if he does not water them, he binds together with a new thread of love today’s passing moments with those of the tomorrow”
- Maria Montessori.