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Science in Preschool: a foundation for education for sustainability? A view from Swedish preschool teacher education
Örebro univ, NT-akademin.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5269-1451
2014 (English)In: Research in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability: international perspectives and provocations / [ed] Susan Elliott, Julie Davis, oxon: Routledge, 2014, 280-293 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter we elaborate on how science encounters can be used within education for sustainability (EfS) in preschool practice as a means of empowering children to engage with sustainability. We acknowledge recent research arguing for a rethink of what science teaching in preschool can be. Such rethinking involves a shift from viewing science in preschool as mainly nature experiences towards introducing young children to science inquiry. By doing so, the interplay between knowledge, values and the ways in which humans build and make use of new knowledge can become visible thus, laying a foundation for EfS. Implementation of science inquiry processes in preschools would, however, necessitate changes in preschool teachers’ personal and professional views of science, nature and pedagogy. In our research we have explored how competence in inquiry-based teaching may, or may not, develop during pre-service preschool teacher education. We have also observed how competence can develop, but still not be realized in practice due to culturally and historically grounded attitudes and notions about science and about teaching. Drawing on these findings, we initiate discussion about how pre-service and in-service teacher education can support a broader view of teaching and science to fit the ‘community of practice’ of preschools and hence make a contribution to EfS. Our suggestions highlight the need for pre-service and in-service education to explore the historical/cultural contexts of preschool practices and teachers’ roles in raising children’s awareness of their own scientific observations and science learning processes. We also stress the need for stronger co-operation between teacher educators and teachers in practicum settings to ensure that pre-service students experience preschool environments where they have opportunities to challenge norms and practice inquiry teaching skills that are foundational for EfS. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
oxon: Routledge, 2014. 280-293 p.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
didactics of natural science
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93446ISBN: 9780415854481ISBN: 9780415854498ISBN: 978-1-315-76749-9OAI: diva2:749025
Naturvetenskap i förskolan
Available from: 2014-09-22 Created: 2014-09-22 Last updated: 2015-10-27Bibliographically approved

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