If Karen Worth and her colleagues on a National Research Council project have their way, it won't be long before the traditional three R's of childhood classrooms--reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic--are expanded to include an "S," for science.

Worth, an education instructor at Wheelock College in Boston, is playing a lead role in a recently launched NRC initiative focusing on precollege education, specifically on the status of science as a vital ingredient in K-12 curricula.

The fledgling effort is called the National Science Education Standards Project. As chairwoman for the project's working group on teaching standards, Worth is spearheading development of a set of guidelines that would help teachers to introduce science to kids from the moment they toddle out of the sandbox and into kindergarten.

"One of the major hopes is that the standards would put science as a primary subject, placing it closer to a basic skill," says Worth....

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