Aboard the helicopter: from adult science to early years (and back)

Mike Watts, Saima Salehjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


This paper links early foundations in science for young children to the eventual achievement of science literacy for adults. There are five key arguments being made: (i) the early-years foundation stage (EYFS) specialists need to have a view for exactly what foundations are being laid in classrooms; (ii) that they all need to be–minimally–scientifically literate, despite the variety of definitions of that term; (iii) becoming scientifically literate is a long-term process of engaging with and developing an interest in ‘matters scientific’ that are easily available in the public domain; (iv) that there is a plethora of informal learning opportunities in science across the UK to foster adult engagement, and (v) taking a ‘helicopter view’ on occasions helps shape planning and processes in the nursery/ reception school classroom. To illuminate this, we offer two examples from materials science that grow out of traditional block play, and from all things plastic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • early years science
  • science education
  • learning opportunities


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