Science in early care and education: Research-to-policy resources

Resource Type: Fact Sheets & Briefs
Author(s): Lawrence, Sharmila;
Date Issued: June, 2017
Publisher(s): Child Care & Early Education Research Connections
Description: In defining science education for young children, a report from the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of focusing on scientific exploration and inquiry rather than on facts and information. As the report notes, engaging children in scientific inquiry not only supports their knowledge of science but also supports school readiness in other domains such as mathematics, and language and literacy. One paper on science in early childhood classrooms defines scientific inquiry as a process "involving prediction, planning, collecting, and recording data; organizing experiences; and looking for patterns and relationships that eventually can be shared and from which new questions may emerge" (p. 4). However, currently most young children are not exposed to high quality science experiences in the early childhood classroom as most early educators do not spend much time on science related activities whether planned or spontaneous. One reason is that early educators often lack time, space, materials, as well as content knowledge and confidence in teaching science content and methods. This lack of confidence may stem from inadequate preparation in early childhood preservice and in-service professional development programs, as many of these programs do not focus on preparing educators to provide science instruction. In order to ensure that scientific inquiry is integrated into the early childhood classroom there is a need to better prepare early childhood educators in science content, methods, and pedagogy. This resource list identifies resources from 2010 to 2017 that highlight resources on science in early care and education under the following categories: 1) Policy resources, 2) Promising practices, 3) Professional development and teacher preparation. (author abstract)

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