Science is the foundation of human civilization. It encompasses our intellectual and technological achievements and is the reason for so much progress in the world. I am passionate about science, and naturally, when I became a parent, I wanted to pass on my love and enthusiasm for science to my son. We started talking about rockets and stars, doing chemistry ‘experiments’ in the kitchen, collecting rocks, hunting for bones in our garden, and loads of other science-based activities that my son adored. I also started to create simple rhymes about scientists that my son began happily repeating. I realized that the rhymes could appeal to other children too, and that is the essence of my book, My Scientist Friends.
There are countless videos of 3- and 4-year-olds singing entire Disney songs or national anthems, or reciting rosters of sports teams. Why not celebrating scientists? If the content is engaging and delivered with an easy rhythm, kids will pick it up, enjoy it, and perhaps be hooked. I thought that if science concepts can be made whimsical and engaging, it would be a tool for parents and educators to talk about science with young kids. My Scientist Friends is an attempt to prime young minds to be comfortable with scientific vocabulary and ideas, and to create a foundation for a love of science for a lifetime. With beautiful illustrations that are meant to capture the imagination of young children, the rhymes introduce concepts like entropy, antibiotics, and DNA. If a funny image of an apple falling on Newton’s head can spawn a conversation about gravity, that will be mission accomplished!
Parents, educators, and governments understand that a STEM focus is important for personal and societal growth. With that in mind, there are many toys, programs, and avenues for older kids to learn about science. However, I feel that it is never too early to make kids familiar with science—but it has to be done in a way that appeals to them. We know that the toddler and pre-K age is one of constant learning. Kids absorb everything that they are introduced to, and research shows that habits formed during early childhood are retained throughout life.
Young kids are by definition scientists. They are curious, ask questions, demand answers that make sense to them and are relentless in the pursuit of their passions. That is exactly the nature of the scientific process—asking questions and not just blindly accepting anything. If we can label the quest to imagine ‘what if’ as what scientists do, then it should give confidence from a very young age to say, “I am a scientist too!”
I hope that My Scientist Friends inspires children to look at scientists as heroes and start a conversation about science at an early age. Scientists like Marie Curie and Galileo are people who changed our lives with skill and dedication, not superpowers. We know the impact that positive role models can have, and this is an opportunity to show kids that scientists save the world every day, wearing a lab coat instead of a cape.