Science Education in the Early Years

Authored by: Lucia A. French , Suzanne D. Woodring

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023


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In her 1993 review for this Handbook, Howe noted a gap between the approaches to science education in preschool and the elementary grades: the elementary curriculum was based on a view of science as a body of facts to be mastered whereas preschool educators tended to adopt a Piagetian-inspired emphasis on independent exploration of the environment as a means for the child to construct knowledge. This gap has resolved such that there is a strong consensus among scholars that science education across all grade levels should involve students’ active participation in conducting investigations, sharing ideas with peers, using specialized ways of talking and writing, and developing representations of phenomena. In other words, there has been a shift from a perspective that students need to “learn science in order to do science” to a perspective that they must “do science in order to learn science.”

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