Creative Little Scientists: exploring pedagogical synergies between inquiry-based and creative approaches in early years science

Cremin, T., Glauert, E., Craft, A., Compton, A. and Stylianidou, F. (2015) Creative Little Scientists: exploring pedagogical synergies between inquiry-based and creative approaches in early years science. Education 3-13, 43 (4). pp. 404-419. ISSN 0300-4279

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In the light of the European Union's interest in creativity and innovation, this paper, drawing on data from the EU project Creative Little Scientists (2011–2014), explores the teaching and learning of science and creativity in Early Years education. The project's conceptual framework, developed from detailed analysis of relevant literatures, highlighted the potential existence of a number of pedagogical synergies between inquiry-based science and creativity-based approaches in Early Years education. The science and creativity literature reviews were thus re-examined to identify synergistic features of teaching and learning in the Early Years. These were seen to include: play and exploration, motivation and affect, dialogue and collaboration, problem-solving and agency, questioning and curiosity, reflection and reasoning, and teacher scaffolding and involvement. Field work undertaken over a 4-month-period in 48 sites across the 9 partner countries provided the opportunity to examine the existence of these synergies in Early Years settings and primary classrooms with learners aged 3–8 years. Qualitative in nature, the fieldwork was framed by a case study strategy encompassing multiple methods of data collection: sequential digital images capturing interactions; observations supplemented by audio recording; timelines; and interviews with teachers and groups of children. The data set comprised 71 cases in early science (and mathematics), with 3 episodes of activity per case encapsulating creativity in these domains, resulting in 218 episodes for analysis. A deductive–inductive analytical approach was undertaken in two phases with cross-case analysis both within and between countries. The paper exemplifies the pedagogical synergies innovatively identified in the conceptual framework and documented in the fieldwork, and highlights the potential for creativity in exploratory science contexts. Additionally, it highlights differences between practice observed in preschool and primary settings and advances a new conceptual definition of creativity within Early Years science education.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Teacher Development
Depositing User: Dr Ashley Compton
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 15:59
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 14:19

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