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How preschool teachers feel about science matters, new research finds

November 8, 2017
Lillian Mongeau
The Hechinger Report

Whether or not preschool teachers offer science lessons and activities in their classrooms depends largely on how comfortable they are in the topic, according to new research from Michigan State University.

Teachers in the study “were very nervous that they were going to teach science inaccurately to children,” said Hope Gerde, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Michigan State and the lead author on the study. “That was keeping them from engaging in science at all.”

That may seem like an obvious conclusion but the same did not hold true for reading and math, even though the teachers interviewed were least likely to be confident in math. Nearly every teacher interviewed, 99 percent, engaged is literacy activities three to four times a week and 75 percent engaged in math activities that often. Only 42 percent offered science lessons that frequently.

See NIEER’s STEM Professional Development for Pre-K Teachers