Ways of dealing with science learning: a study based on Swedish early childhood education practice

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Abstract

The Swedish school system offers curriculum-based early childhood education (ECE) organised as preschool (for 0–5-year-olds) and preschool class (for 6-year-olds). The intention to create a playful and educational environment based on children’s perspectives, interests, and questions is strongly based on historical and cultural traditions. This article develops knowledge of ECE teachers’ approaches to science-learning situations. The study applies a phenomenographic approach. The analysis is based on approximately 9.5 hours of video documentation of teacher-led and child-initiated Swedish ECE science activities. We identified two descriptive categories and four subcategories dealing with science-learning situations: (A) making anything visible, containing the three subcategories (Aa) addressing everyone, (Ab) addressing everything, and (Ac) addressing play and fantasy; and (B) creating a shared space for learning (Ba) addressing common content. These categories are related to how efforts to take advantage of children’s perspectives are interpreted and addressed in educational practice. The article discusses and exemplifies the use of various categories and their potential implications for ECE learning practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1867-1881
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume38
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Social Sciences (5)

Keywords

  • Children’s perspectives
  • early childhood education
  • phenomenography
  • science learning
  • teachers’ approaches

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