Science Education during Early Childhood
Children’s learning and understanding of science during their pre-school years has been a neglected topic in the education literature—something this volume aims to redress. Paradigmatic notions of science education, with their focus on biologically governed development and age-specific accession to scientific concepts, have perpetuated this state of affairs. This book offers a very different perspective, however. It has its roots in the work of cultural-historical activity theorists, who, since Vygotsky, have assumed that any higher cognitive function existed in and as a social relation first. Accepting this precept removes any lower limit we may deem appropriate on children’s cognitive engagement with science-related concepts.
The authors describe and analyze the ways in which children aged from one to five grapple with scientific concepts, and also suggest ways in which pre-service and in-service teachers can be prepared to teach in ways that support children’s development in cultural and historical contexts. In doing so, the book affirms the value of cultural-historical activity theory as an appropriate framework for analyzing preschool children’s participation in science learning experiences, and shows that that the theory provides an appropriate framework for understanding learning, as well as for planning and conducting training for pre-school teachers.
Provides the first consistent approach to early childhood science education and teacher training from a cultural-historical perspective Brings together child development and science education for early years Supports the development of curriculum and teacher education programs for the preschool years