Understanding natural sciences education in a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool in America. Journal of Research in Science TeachingECE Faculty Publications
AbstractThis ethnographic study explored aspects of how the natural sciences were represented in a Reggio Emilia-inspired laboratory preschool. The natural sciences as a discipline—a latecomer to preschool curricula—and the internationally known approach, Reggio Emilia, interested educators and researchers, but there was little research about science in a Reggio Emilia classroom. The current research aimed to gain insight into natural science experiences in a Reggio Emilia-inspired classroom. To gain in-depth information, this inquiry-based study adapted a research design with ethnographic data collection techniques (i.e., interview, observation, document/artifact collection, and field-notes), namely Spradley's Developmental Research Sequence Method, which was a well-known, pioneer ethnographic method. The data were analyzed from an interpretive perspective using multiple lenses. These lenses included Spradley's DRS for the classroom culture, Corsaro's peer culture theory, the Reggio Emilia approach, and Ohio's Early Learning Content Standards. The study involved 18 preschoolers, 10 teachers, and a program director. The results indicated that the Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool offered a science-rich context that triggered and supported preschoolers' inquiries, and effectively engaged preschoolers' hands, heads, and hearts with science. The natural sciences learning in this Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool classroom met and exceeded some of Ohio's prekindergarten standards. The results suggested that the Reggio pedagogy, grounded in inquiry, is compatible with science education goals. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47: 1186–1208, 2010
Citation InformationInan, H. Z., Trundle, K. C., & Kantor, R. (2011). Understanding natural sciences education in a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool in America. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.