This book provides an account of children’s science learning beyond the traditional constructivist and social-constructivist view. It conceptualises science as a body of knowledge that humans have constructed (historically) and reconstructed (contemporary) to meet human needs. As such, this human invention acts as an evolving cultural tool for supporting and helping to understand everyday life. Drawing upon cultural-historical theory, the book theorises early childhood science education in relation to current globalised education contexts. Its aim is to advance the understanding of the many ways that science concepts are learned by very young children.
The book presents a theoretical discussion of the cultural-historical foundation for early childhood science education. It examines contemporary theories of learning and development within the general field of early childhood education. This theoretical examination allows for the foundational pedagogical context of young learners to be interrogated. This kind of analysis makes it possible to examine play-based contexts in relation to opportunities for scientific conceptual development of young children. From a cultural-historical point of view, and taking into account relevant empirical literature, the book introduces and promotes a more relevant approach to the teaching of science and for the development of young children’s scientific thinking. The book ends with presenting a pedagogical model for introducing scientific concepts to young children in play-based settings.