Science is a special subject at The School in Rose Valley, taught to all children from the 5-day Preschool and up by a specialist teacher. Science study also occurs in the classrooms and is integrated as much as possible into other areas of the curriculum.
The Science Room at The School in Rose Valley is teeming with the tools and artifacts of scientists. It is child-centered and friendly, inviting and allowing for free exploration, active learning, and wondering.
A “please touch and explore” table holds many objects and tools for curious children to touch, examine, and manipulate. Some objects, like magnifying glasses and microscopes are always there to facilitate looking more closely. Children frequently add found treasures to the collection – birds’ nests, interesting rocks, snake skins, etc.
There are live animals in the Science Room (and in other classrooms in the school). Since the School’s founding in 1929, teachers have understood children’s compelling interest in other living creatures, and the value of using real animals for children to love, care for and learn from.
Children learn best when they can do something themselves, so much of the science curriculum involves teaching children age-appropriate scientific methodology in a hands-on way. That means allowing them to pursue answers to their questions and giving them problems and challenges to try to figure out. Children can formulate questions, make hypotheses, experiment, and draw their own conclusions. Keeping good records is critical in science, so students have science notebooks in which they record their questions, observations, data and conclusions.
To conduct all of those investigations and experiments, children must have the proper tools. The Science Room is fully equipped with binoculars, microscopes, dissecting implements, measuring containers and devices. SRV’s extensive science library has all the necessary resources for young scientists to learn more. There are lots of reference books about every kind of science, and plant, animal and mineral guidebooks. Children looking for inspiration can browse the project and experiment books for ideas about things to try. They can also use the Science Room computers to conduct research and create reports.
While the Science Room is the center of SRV students’ science education, it is augmented by the vast laboratory provided by the school campus and immediate environs. The Rose Valley woods and creek are used all year round. Children track animals in the snow, look for signs of spring, and notice the habitats of our neighborhood foxes, owls and hawks. Oldest Group (5th & 6th grades) students study of the health of our watershed and creek, analyzing the biodiversity and looking for signs of erosion and pollution.