Spangler Salutes Wilder Preschool

Jane Carlson, Julie Peterson, Betsy Henry and Peggy O'Doherty

Science education at the early childhood level has gone through some amazing changes in recent years. Discovery centers are being replaced by cool science demonstrations and experiments conducted by the leader of the three ring circus… the teacher! Don’t be surprised if your preschooler comes home talking about molecules or wanting to whip up a potion of vinegar and baking soda they learned about in preschool. Steve Spangler took the 9News morning crew on a field trip to the Wilder Community Preschool in Littleton, Colorado to see a team of teachers who are making science come alive!


The morning started off with a flurry of activity as 20 children, ages 3-5, and their parents showed up at the preschool ready to do something amazing. The children at the first table were surprised to find everything they needed to make erupting volcanoes. A little vinegar… a scoop of baking soda and some safety glasses just to make sure everyone was safe.

The ring master for this activity was Jane Carlson who teaches at the school. Responding to a question about the ways science education has changed at the early childhood level, Jane said, “The days of just setting out science materials at a discovery table are over. Today it’s all about doing science experiments with the children and creating experiences.”

Betsy Henry shared her recipe for making bouncing bubbles – literally bubbles that the children bounced off of their clothes and glove-covered hands. “The secret is a mixture of water, Dawn dish soap and glycerin which helps to keep the water from evaporating too quickly and popping the bubble.” Betsy also shared how she integrates reading with the science activities using The Bubble Factory by Tomi dePola.

Julie Peterson serves as the Director of the Wilder Community Preschool, and she’s never afraid to get her hands dirty. The children in her group actually stood inside of a giant bubble. A small swimming pool was filled with water and Dawn dish soap – approximately 5 gallons of water and about 20 ounces of dish soap. Each child took turns standing in the middle of a Hula-Hoop submerged in the water. Then the hoop was lifted up and over the child’s head creating a giant bubble.

“The secret to the success of our preschool is parent involvement. Just look at how many parents got up early to let their children be a part of this experience,” Julie commented as she dipped her hands in the swimming pool of bubble solution to make her 207th giant bubble of the morning!

If you want more information about the Wilder Community Preschool, contact Julie Peterson at (303) 794-8544 you can send her an e-mail.

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