On Teaching Children About Science
As a father of a very curious and active three year old who loves animals, I thought this was very good advice from E.O. Wilson:
The worst thing you can do to a child, in my opinion, is take them on a hike through a botanical garden where there are the names of the trees on the side. Rachel Carson once said, so true, take the child to the seashore, turn her loose with a pail, and tell her to go explore the tidepools. Don't tell her the names of any of these things. Let her find them, let her touch them, let her bring them to you, talk about them, and then you give her the name.
These squeezed-in lives of children who are taken occasionally to a park like that or a zoo to see the labels is all part of what I like to call -- I hope I'm not offending anyone -- the "soccer mom syndrome." I believe that soccer moms are the greatest enemy in modern life of natural history and proper biological education.
Read the report here.
In defense of soccer moms, I must add that my son's inevitable question when exposed to a new animal is "What's its name?"