Nearly everyone knows that one of the primary purposes of kindergarten is to prepare children for reading, writing, and math. Fewer people, however, realize that kindergarten also prepares children for understanding scientific principles.

Children are encouraged to develop their curiosity about the world around them and to make observations. As they are introduced to science, children develop organized and analytical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Here, in general, is what most kindergarten children will learn.

Physical Sciences

The physical sciences involve the study of the physical world. These sciences include chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Sometimes the Earth sciences are included in physical sciences since they are part of the physical world.

Generally speaking, though, in studying the physical sciences in kindergarten, children learn about the properties of certain materials and discover that these properties can be observed, measured, and predicted. They will:

  • Describe the materials that make different objects (cloth, paper, wood, etc.)
  • Describe the physical properties of objects (color, shape, texture, etc.)
  • Learn the properties of water — it can be a liquid or solid and can change back and from one to the other, and it can evaporate when left in an open container
  • Recognize that light and heat are both sources of energy
  • Understand whether objects float, sink, are attracted to magnets, etc.

    Earth Sciences

    The Earth sciences involve the study of everything relating to the Earth, except for living things. These sciences include mainly geology and meteorology, although for some it would also include geography.

    As they learn about the earth, children will learn about the characteristics of the earth’s environments (mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys, and deserts) and the four seasons. They’ll understand the weather, daytime vs. nighttime, the different phases of the moon, and resources and conservation.

    Life Sciences

    The life sciences are those which study living things. Those sciences would include biology, botany, zoology, and ecology among others. As part of their study of the life sciences, children will learn:

    • Basic structures of common plants and animals (arms, legs, wings, leaves, stems, roots, etc.)
    • Living things adapt to the environment, grow and change, and have certain needs
    • Living vs. non-living things
    • The similarities and differences in plants vs. animals
    • A wide variety of living things exists and that they are interdependent