Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Singaporean preschool children learning science through play
    (2014)
    Goh, Mei Ting
    ;
    Ong, Monica Woei Ling
    ;
    ;
    Play has an important role throughout childhood as children learn and develop through engaging in play. The aim of this study was to examine how purposeful play can be used to introduce and facilitate the learning of science ideas and scientific skills in young children in the Singapore context. Science activities were carried out with preschool children aged 5 to 6 through the use of purposeful play, and the video and audio recordings of the science activities were analysed using qualitative coding methods to identify the science learning that took place while engaging in purposeful play. The coded data were written into narratives to illustrate the process and learning outcomes of the science activities conducted using purposeful play. The findings of this study indicate that young children are able to display science process skills and learn science ideas through engaging in purposeful play.
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  • Publication
    Open Access
      201  182
  • Publication
    Open Access
    "Children are natural scientists": Learning science in early childhood and early primary years
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2020) ; ;
    Ong, Monica Woei Ling
    ;
    Goh, Mei Ting
    Children are by nature curious and they are motivated to explore the world around them. Their science process skills develop as early as infancy and throughout their informal schooling years. A lack of external stimuli in the environment which allow them to actively engage in science learning may result in them not developing fully in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective aspects. As such, science education at early childhood is of great importance to many aspects of a child's development and researchers have suggested that children should begin learning science in their early years of schooling. In Singapore, science is not formally introduced to the Singapore school curriculum until primary three. However, some teachers do teach science to primary one and two students. In the MOE Kindergarten Curriculum Framework, the espoused views about the roles science teachers should undertake and the learning outcomes of science learning can be found in the learning area ''Discovery of the World''. This is a proposal for an exploratory two-year research study ''Children are Natural Scientists'': Learning Science in Early Childhood and Early Primary Years that aims to examine how Singapore young children (ages 4-8) engage in science learning. The research question and sub-questions we want to address are: How do young children engage in science learning? 1. How science process skills do they use as participated in the science activities? 2. What forms of science talk do they use as they participated in the science activities? This is a first Singapore study that introduces science to preschool and early primary children. The short-term goal of the study is to develop knowledge about ways preschool and early primary Singapore children engage in science learning. Our long-term goal is build on the work done in this exploratory study to conduct a larger scale study with more science activities. The repertoire of science activities can become resources for Singapore preschool and primary teachers. The research findings will become resources for us to conduct teacher professional development courses for teachers so that they may learn how to use the science activities in their own classrooms. The intellectual merit of this study is that it contributes to the existing early childhood science education literature which is mostly based in western contexts and does not contain any studies about Singapore students at these grade levels. The broader impact of this study is that can provide empirical evidence showing the importance of science education at early childhood/primary levels to local science educators and policy makers.
      289  28
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Affordances of purposeful play
    (Springer, 2018) ; ;
    Ong, Monica Woei Ling
    ;
    Goh, Mei Ting
    ;
    Teo, Tang Wee

    According to the Singapore Ministry of Education Kindergarten Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, Singapore, Nurturing early learners: a curriculum framework for kindergartens in Singapore. Retrieved on January 15, 2016 from http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/preschool/files/kindergarten-curriculum-framework.pdf, 2012), purposeful play is a pedagogical approach to actively engage children in exploring, developing, and applying knowledge and skills in an enjoyable manner. To achieve this broad objective, lessons have to be purposefully planned by taking into consideration children’s interests and abilities. This chapter describes a group of Singaporean preschool children (aged 6) learning about ways to categorize different types of leaves through purposeful play at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We discuss the affordances of purposeful play in this naturalistic learning context as illuminated through the teacher-student and student-student social interactions. Through this work, we want to demonstrate how purposeful play, when properly planned and capitalized on, could contribute to children’s science experiential learning and understanding. Preschool teachers may be interested to learn how they can purposefully plan their lessons to create diverse affordances for children. This study also contributes to the early childhood literature, which has limited empirical studies about Singaporean preschool science education.

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  • Publication
    Open Access
    An investigation of Singapore preschool children’s emerging concepts of floating and sinking
    (2017) ; ;
    Ong, Monica Woei Ling
    Despite Singapore’s excellent science achievements in international benchmark tests such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), little is known about Singaporean children’s (aged 4-8) emerging science conceptions as formal science schooling begins at Grade 3 (aged 9). This paper builds on the well-established literature on preschool children’s emerging conceptions and play to illuminate children’s ideas about floating and sinking. Using narratives of a 90-minute activity involving a group of Singaporean children aged 6, we surfaced emerging conceptions that an object floats or sinks due to its weight, and that objects sink because water is “soft”—a conception that has not been reported in previous literature.We also observed a shift from binary discourse about floating and sinking to more graded descriptions (e.g. “sink a bit”) as the children played more. The play-based activity provided opportunities for the children’s emerging conceptions to be elicited because it was conceptually-oriented and created opportunities for social interactions. It allowed children who were not proficient in standard English to express their thinking in actions. In sum, this paper illustrates how play-based contexts could be used to identify children’s emerging conceptions. Early childhood educators in Singapore could pay greater attention to what children say and do during play as these offer rich grounds for identifying and developing children’s emerging conceptions.
    WOS© Citations 2Scopus© Citations 8  368  170