Children’s literature as an invitation to science inquiry in early childhood education

Karen McLean
Mellita Jones
Clare Schaper
Australian Catholic University

Despite widespread recognition of the importance of science in early childhood, the quality and quantity of science teaching in early childhood remains a concern. One way of addressing this problem may be to utilise early childhood teachers’ familiarity with children’s literature and play pedagogies to foster inquiry-based pedagogical approaches to science in early childhood. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of children’s literature to provide thematic links to science inquiry play experiences in an early childhood preschool setting. To understand the influences on an early childhood teacher’s confidence in her/his ability to teach science, a participatory approach to research using a narrative case study was employed. The sources of data included multiple semi-structured teacher interviews, teacher reflective journals and digital video. The findings indicate that the use of children’s literature as invitational in providing contexts for science inquiry play may offer a way for early childhood teachers to develop confidence and competence to teach science by inquiry. A model informed by the findings of this study is presented for further investigation.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 40 No 4 December 2015

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