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Teaching Young Children Science: Early Care and Education Teachers’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Classroom Practices
AuthorJohnson, Sara Jo
Human Development and Family Studies
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Despite the importance of science learning for young children, many teachers may not have favorable attitudes and beliefs towards teachings science, which may reflect on their science-related classroom practices. The current study consisted of early care and education teachers (N = 110) of children aged 2- to 5 years old from a northwestern metropolitan area of the U.S. With an online survey, the study investigated relationships between the early care and education teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward teaching science to young children, their science-related practices in the classroom, and their professional and program characteristics. Positive relationships exist between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward teaching science and their classroom practices. Positive relationships were found between teachers’ professional characteristics, attitudes and beliefs toward teaching science, and classroom practices. Results indicated that greater educational attainment and science-specific professional development were related to higher scores of attitudes and beliefs and classroom practices. Teachers in public programs reported higher scores on child benefit and classroom practices than those in private programs. Implications for future direction are presented including providing early care and education teachers with science-specific professional development and science-related teaching interventions to improve teachers’ science-content knowledge and teaching confidence.