Science in Preschools: What Matters?

A first-of-its-kind study by Michigan State University researchers found that early childhood educators’ self-reported ability and enjoyment was high for literacy, but much lower for science and math. This matters because teachers who reported higher self-efficacy for science, but not literacy, provided more science materials in their classrooms and engaged children in science opportunities more often. “Providing quality early-childhood science education is one way to improve the very low science achievement of U.S. elementary school children,” said lead author Hope Gerde, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “However, it seems the preschool teachers in our study were more confident of their ability in literacy than in science – likely creating a gap between children’s literacy development and science skills.” (credit to MSU Today)

Gerde, H. K., Pierce, S. J., Lee, K. S., & Van Egeren, L. A. (2017). Early childhood educators’ self-efficacy in science, math, and literacy instruction and science practice in the classroom. Early Education and Development.

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