Developing an independent learner through scientific literacy

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This is a case study of an educator’s journey to implement early childhood science education to a group of three to four year old students from a nursery 2 class in a neighbourhood childcare centre. Difficulties faced and effective methods used during implementation are the focal points of this study. Traits of an independent learner were developed through the use of mediated learning experience (MLE), using science as a vehicle to teach these skills. From a socialconstructivist perspective, learning is more likely to occur if adults or more competent peer mediate children’s learning experiences. There is a growing consensus among early childhood professionals that the past success in improving basic skills in the “three Rs” (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) has not matched with the current demands of the twenty-first century. This study focuses on the role of the teacher in guiding preschool children’s science learning while they play with everyday materials. Checklists were available to trace the development of fundamental areas such as process skills, thinking skills and scientific discourse.There is an increasing need to introduce early childhood science education into the local context as science involved the development of thinking skills and it also requires students to use appropriate tools and techniques essential in developing an independent learner. Creating an environment that is scientifically empowering and mediating children’s experiences in this environment establishes the foundation of an independent learner.
Proceedings of the Redesigning pedagogy: culture, knowledge and understanding conference, Singapore, May 2007.