Student preschool teachers' experiences of science and its role in preschool

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This article reports on student preschool teachers’ views of science and its role in preschool. Three cohorts of students have been given a written questionnaire with open-ended questions before and after a one-semester course including science (specifically Chemistry and Physics) in a 3.5-year preschool teacher programme in Sweden. The science content in the course is integrated with other subjects and lecturers with different subject backgrounds work together in forming an integrated and meaningful context. A phenomenographic qualitative analysis of responses to the questionnaires before and after the course is presented. The analysis gave that many students equate science with biology (nature studies), and several did not adjust this view even though chemistry and physics were explicitly taught. Surprisingly few students were negative towards science, none after the course. However, several remain hesitantly positive. Most students described ‘what’ and ‘how’ perspectives of science, but few developed a synthesised view of science activities. However, there was a shift towards a more integrated perspective after the course. Also the quality and eloquence of the students’ response were noticeably improved in responses given after the course. Prior expectations and implications of the results for preschool teacher education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Didactics (50302)


  • Preschool
  • early childhood education
  • pre-service teacher education
  • science


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