Follow the leader: Child-led inquiries to develop science learning of young children
Keywords:Early years science, Child-led inquiries, Zoo kinder, Children’s questions
Science education in the early years has been found to be lacking when compared to other content areas, specifically numeracy and literacy. It has been suggested that this lack of opportunity for young children to learn science is due to educator’s lack of confidence to teach science, fuelled by concerns regarding a reduced understanding of science concepts. For young children, however, science is everywhere and is embedded in all aspects of their lives as they explore and interact to make sense of the world around them. Given this natural connection to science, it is important for educators to notice and respond to children’s interest to encourage science learning to occur. This paper reports on an exploratory research study in which children took the leading role in inquiry-based interactions during off-site school days that took place within a metropolitan city zoo. Through the collection of observations and interactions with the research, several inquiries were documented. The children challenged the educators within the program to follow up on questions posed by them and engage the children across a broad age range in an inquiry to answer these questions.
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