Preschoolers’ use and exploration of concepts related to scientific phenomena in preschool
Keywords:Preschool, Early science, Making sense, Concept creation
The study described in this paper concerns science education in preschool, more specifically how young children in preschool settings invent, develop and explore science and scientific concepts in problem-solving and communicative situations. The aim of the paper is to discuss young children´s concept creation and draw conclusions for early science education. The method used was a secondary analysis of empirical material drawn from three previous studies carried out by the authors. Examples of preschool children’s use of language were extracted and was, for the purpose of this study, analyzed with a new focus on children’s use of concepts. The re-analysis draws from Vygotsky’s theoretical framework on children’s conceptual development and appropriation of new concepts (Vygotsky, 1934/1999; Åkerblom 2011) and from the later Wittgenstein (1986) on the role of language meaning in understanding. The findings underline the importance of allowing preschool children to invent, develop and explore science and technology concepts, as well as implications for preschool teachers to create dialogic spaces for the children to do so. The limitations of the study are however that it is based on a limited number of examples and even though it can give implications and point out directions, is not conclusive and should be followed by further research.
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