Scientific Literacy in the Early Years

Activity 4 - Another View - Rachel Carson

Much of my own thinking about wonder was inspired by reading Rachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder, first published by Harper & Row in 1965. As an elementary principal spending lots of time wondering about the dreaming, thinking and questioning of very young children, I found that certain passages resonated intensely with my own impressions and thoughts.

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later life, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
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The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson was first published by Harper & Row in 1965. A wonderful new edition (Harper-Collins, ISBN 0-06-757520-X)) with fresh photographs by Nick Kelsh was published in 1998. It offers a vivid collection of words and images illustrating the allure of wonder.
The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response.

Once found it has lasting meaning.

It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.

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Make a list of any key ideas you wish to add to your thoughts about "scientific literacy."

Wait for the seminar leader to suggest moving to the next module.

© 2008, Jamie McKenzie,
All Rights Reserved