In November 2012, Nancy Clark-Chiarelli, Jess Gropen, Cindy Hoisington, and Jeff Winokur launched the Foundations of Science Literacy website to spread the word about the kinds of planning, facilitation, and assessment strategies that support effective early science teaching. For more than 7 years, through a series of studies funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), this team of EDC researchers and professional developers has been investigating strategies to enhance young children’s science learning by engaging preschool teachers in a professional development program that helps them master science content and inquiry-based methods. The program, Foundations of Science Literacy, integrates college-level coursework, mentoring, a nationally recognized science curriculum (EDC’s Young Scientist Series), and classroom-based assignments.
Earlier in the research, the team conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Foundations of Science Literacy. Findings from the RCT indicated that the course improves teachers’ inquiry-based science instruction, leads to gains in teachers’ science content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, improves children’s ability to remember goals of scientific inquiry, and increases children’s ability to solve scientific challenges. In a current study, Cultivating Young Scientists, the team is developing and testing two new Foundations of Science Literacy courses—as well as formative assessment tools—and measuring children’s learning gains and teachers’ implementation of effective teaching strategies. The new website provides a range of resources related to early science learning, describes the Foundations of Science Literacy approach, and presents detailed findings from the RCT of FSL’s impact.
Last Updated: November 2012