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Teaching science in Australian bush kindergartens: understanding what teachers need.
journal contributionposted on 2018-08-01, 00:00 authored by Coral Campbell, Christopher Andrew Speldewinde
Across 2015-2017, we conducted research at four Australian bush kindergartens to understand the teachers’ science pedagogy and practice. The initial results were presented back to the participants at a teachers' professional development day. Forest kindergarten research exists but is limited in the Australian context and little consideration of teacher professional development directly associated with bush kindergartens exists. As we live in a society that constantly changes, teacher professional development or professional learning is essential for ensuring teachers in all sectors of education continue to address their students’ learning needs. Our study involved the theoretical framework of ‘capacity-building’ where improvement of teachers’ knowledge, skills and dispositions are critical to improving children’s science understandings. The intention of capacity building is to generate change in current practice. This research used a mixed methods approach over two stages. Initially, observations of six early childhood teachers’ science strategies and practices were recorded and discussed with the teachers. Then, a pre-intervention survey of bush kindergarten teachers was delivered, aimed at understanding teacher science knowledge and development needs within the context of the provision of science professional learning. This research reports on the initial observations of Early Childhood teachers’ practice and strategies in science in bush kindergartens, and their articulation of their needs through the survey.