A Sense of Wonder Cover

A Sense of Wonder

Science in early childhood education

Tap into children's innate desire to observe and explore with early childhood science activities! 

A Sense of Wonder explores the endless possibilities for experiencing science in early childhood setting, filled with practical science ideas to inspire educators.  

This resource provides science activities linked to EYLF outcomes, principles and practices. It outlines an early childhood science framework divided into four learning areas: biological science, physical science, earth science and environmental science. 

As children engage with science in early childhood education they become confident, capable and involved learners. Order A Sense of Wonder to create an inquiry approach that promotes positive learning.  

We endeavour to ship your order within 24 hours once placed, and delivery times are expected to be within 10-15 working days.

If you urgently need this resource, an ebook version is available and will give you immediate access.

Ages: 1-5 | Pages: 96 | Code: TS0103 | ISBN: 9781921613579

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Book (physical) - A good old fashioned printed book, ideal if you like the feeling of holding it in your hand as you flip through the pages. We will ship your books from our warehouse within 1-3 days.
Vital Source Ebook - You can read, highlight, annotate, create flashcards, and collaborate with colleagues and instructors via any web browser, or for offline access download the Vital Source Bookshelf App (Mac, PC, iOS & Android). The ebooks are available immediately and can be accessed via your filebox. Vital Source books have limited printing functionality.
Combo (book & Vital Source ebook) - Need the flexibility of a print and digital version at your fingertips? Printed books allow you to share and pass around the resource with your colleagues. The Vital Source ebooks are available immediately, you can read, highlight, annotate and create flashcards online, or for offline access download the Vital Source Bookshelf App (Mac, PC, iOS & Android). Vital Source ebooks are best used on your device as they have limited printing functionality.

Orders are normally dispatched within 1 to 3 business days. Goods are shipped by New Zealand Post or by local courier, depending upon the location, with a delivery expectation of 1 to 3 business days. We will email dispatch confirmation and tracking details.

International Orders
We are happy to supply orders from outside Australia and New Zealand. Orders will be dispatched by International Air which has delivery expectations of 3-21 business days depending upon your location.

We offer a 14-day inspection with freepost return on all printed products.
Please be aware that we cannot offer an approval period or accept returns on digital resources, so orders for these resources are final.

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Jenny Aitken

Jenny Aitken is a highly experienced early years educator. She also co- authored A Sense of Wonder: Science in Early Childhood Education.

Jan Hunt

Jan Hunt is a highly experienced early years educator. She also co- authored A Sense of Wonder: Science in Early Childhood Education.
Picture of Elizabeth Roy

Elizabeth Roy

Elizabeth Roy is an Early Childhood TAFE teacher at Victoria University with extensive experience in the early childhood field. Her areas of expertise include early childhood development, science, nutrition, safe food handling and play-based curriculum theory and design. She also enjoys facilitating professional development for TAFE teachers and early childhood educators. Elizabeth is an experienced author who first published in 1986 and has co-authored thirteen health & human development and early childhood text books. Elizabeth and her co-authors Bess Sajfar, Jan Hunt and Jenny Aitken were thrilled to receive a Highly Commended citation in the Australian Awards for Excellence in Education – 2013 for A Sense of Wonder: Science in Early Childhood Education. Elizabeth has a passion for inspiring early childhood educators to make a difference and support young children to actively explore and wonder at the world around them.

Picture of Bess Sajfar

Bess Sajfar

Bess Sajfar is a sessional lecturer in Early Childhood/ Primary education. Her areas of expertise include early childhood mathematics, science, sustainability, nature pedagogy, the arts and play based curriculum theory and design. Bess started her career in the corporate world, but realised that her passion was teaching. Bess has worked in various educational settings from kindergarten, primary, vocational & tertiary education. She has a Master’s degree in education and is currently undertaking her PhD – Titled: A little green is good for the soul: edible gardens enhancing environmental thinking and awareness in early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.

In 2015 Bess was awarded an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching ‘Citation for Outstanding Contributions to inspiring early childhood students in science with the wonder of nature, through integrated and engaging curriculum teaching’. In 2010, she received special mention in the World Environment Day Competition for designing curriculum based learning to support sustainable practice. Also in 2009, Bess was part of a team that received a Vice-Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (TAFE).

Bess has co-authored a science teaching resource book, which subsequently was shortlisted and won highly commended primary teaching resource for the Australian Educational Publishing Awards in 2013.

Bess is passionate about supporting early childhood educators, who will in turn inspire young children to explore, wonder and learn


Preface v
Acknowledgements vi
1.\tWhat is science?1
What is the place of science in early childhood?2
What is science?2
Scientists at work3
Early childhood science learning framework4
Science learning areas4
Process skills used in science8
References and further reading10
2.\tConnecting the Early Years Learning Framework to science11
The Early Years Learning Framework12
EYLF learning outcomes13
References and further reading16
3.\tHow to honour a child’s sense of wonder17
Intentional teaching18
Developing dispositions for learning20
Inquiry-based learning22
Planning for science inquiry24
Approaches to learning26
Documenting children’s learning28
References and further reading30
4.\tCreating inspiring spaces for science31
Our changing world32
Science connects to all areas of the curriculum33
Resources to support science inquiry33
Creating aesthetically pleasing environments36
Using real resources37
Science learning safety considerations38
References and further reading38
5.\tBiological science39
Biological science in early childhood education40
The importance of gardening43
The human body51
References, further reading and resources54
6.\tPhysical science55
Physical science in early childhood education56
The nature of materials57
Physical and chemical changes60
Forces and movement of objects64
References, further reading and resources70
7.\tEarth science71
Earth science in early childhood education72
Day and night78
Weather and seasons79
References, further reading and resources82
8.\tEnvironmental science83
Environmental science in early childhood education84
Experiences for children – birth to 3 years86
Experiences for 4- to 5-year-olds88
Worm farming92
References, further reading and resources94
Some useful websites and organisations95