Science in the Early Grades

Charlotte Mason firmly believed that children, especially young children, should spend a great amount of time outdoors. She thought that direct observation of the handiwork of creation did wonders for the developing mind and soul and that fresh air and exercise were vital to physical and mental health. The study of nature (i.e. science) should form an important part of a child's early education. It teaches attention to detail and encourages a sense of wonder that is so important to the growing mind. Mason would have balked, however, at the approach often taken by schools today in which a child learns about nature from within the confines of a classroom. We should not steal from our children the opportunity to be amazed at the marvelous wonders of creation, which we do when we have them learn "science" solely from the pages of a book. Instead, let them get outside and make friends of the plants, trees, and animals, and discover the world, which, though ancient, is new to them.

All this is stale knowledge to older people, but one of the secrets of the educator is to present nothing as stale knowledge, but to put himself in the position of the child, and wonder and admire with him; for every common miracle which the child sees with his own eyes makes of him for the moment another Newton (CM Home Education Vol 1 p. 54).