Studying children’s small science and early engineering learning process to help shape their cultural identity in culturally valued play-based experience

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Abstract

There are no conflicts between intentional teaching and play-based learning. However, educators find it challenging to establish the pedagogical relationship between them as they struggle to conceptualise and enact their role in the play-based context. In particular, educators’ confidence level is not enough to teach science and engineering in a play-based context. However, there is an increasing demand to integrate teaching practice for STEM learning in early childhood settings. Play is a pleasure and a leading source for children’s learning and cultural maturation process as part of their social and cultural experiences, and adults’ support can enhance children’s STEM learning process in a play-based context. This paper investigates how educators’ intentional teaching plan can support children’s small science and engineering learning process in culturally valued play. A total of 50 h of video data, representing 64 children aged from 10 months to 5 years, were collected through digital video observation over a period of seven weeks in an early childhood centre in Australia. This paper uses the dialectical interactive approach to analyse a 95-min video clip of children’s (3 to 5 years of age) play in a cultural context. It is argued that educators progress their learning and confidence to teach science and engineering in play-based settings when they could choose the activity from their community culture or centre-based practice. The findings of the study provide a pedagogical model for educators, which provides a conceptual framework for STEM-based learning in a culturally valued play.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2024

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