Understanding scientific literacy through play-based settings in the early years: A critical review

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Background: The development of scientific literacy includes both scientific knowledge and the application of scientific knowledge to real-life situations. Much attention has been given to researching scientific literacy in higher primary and secondary school levels. However, the process of developing scientific literacy among children in the early years through a cultural-historical theoretical lens is yet to be understood.

Aim: To gain further knowledge on developing scientific literacy in the early years, this paper aims to review the existing literature to understand how children develop scientific literacy in early childhood settings and early primary years (Foundation/Kindergarten to Year 2) with the help of educators and caregivers in play-based settings.

Method: A narrative analysis using cultural-historical theory has been applied to examine the research literature concerning children’s scientific literacy in early years.

Results: The findings of this literature review identify the importance of knowledge construction that positively contributes to developing scientific literacy from early years. The literature review highlights the importance of considering children’s social and cultural context, which reflects children’s own perspectives.

Conclusions: The critical analysis identifies the paucity of research on developing children’s scientific literacy in the early years and highlights that further research into children’s scientific literacy through play in their everyday culture is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 05 Dec 2022
EventEarly Childhood Voices Conference 2022 - Online, Bathurst, Australia
Duration: 05 Dec 202209 Dec 2022
https://earlychildhoodresearch.csu.domains/early-childhood-voices-conference-2022/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/ECV2022-BOOK-FINAL-v2.pdf (Proceedings)

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Online presentationEarly Childhood Voices Conference 2022
OtherThe Early Childhood Voices Conference 2022 (ECV2022) is a multidisciplinary international conference providing a platform to share research about innovative methods, theories and partnerships with children, families and practitioners that supports social justice during early childhood and within the early childhood sector. ECV2022 was organised by the Charles Sturt University Early Childhood Interdisciplinary Research Group as an opportunity to present research in a virtual online space.

Researchers and post-graduate students were invited to submit abstracts to share their work on innovations to improve the lives of children, families and practitioners during early childhood (generally birth-8 years) and within the early childhood sector. Papers employing qualitative and/or quantitative methods, reviews (e.g., scoping and systematic reviews) and scholarly theoretical papers were welcomed. All abstracts were peer reviewed by the ECV2022 Scientific Committee and authors of accepted abstracts submitted online presentations.

ECV2022 is online and asynchronous. There is no registration fee and no fees to present or view the presentations due to Charles Sturt University’s motto “For the public good”. The conference was held from 5th to 9th December 2022. Presentations will remain online via YouTube. The presentations are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License to indicate that adaptations or commercial use of the presentations are not allowed.
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