‘Creative Little Scientists’ Project: Mapping and Comparative Assessment of Early Years Science Education Policy and Practice
Creative Little Scientists was a 30-month (2011–2014) EU/FP7-funded research project focusing on the synergies between early years science and mathematics education and the development of children’s creativity, in response to increasing interest in these areas in European educational policy. Using a variety of methods, including desk research, a teacher survey and classroom-based fieldwork, the research provided insights into whether and how children’s creativity is fostered and appropriate learning outcomes, including children’s interest, emerge. Based on these, the project proposed changes in policy and teacher education encompassing curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.
This paper focuses on the results from the first research phase, where existing policies and reported practices in early years science and mathematics education in the sample countries were mapped and compared, by means of a) desk research examining national policies, curricula and assessments and b) a survey aiming to gain insights into teachers’ conceptualisations of their own practice. Findings across the varied contexts in partner countries indicate potential for inquiry and creativity but also suggest a number of areas for policy development and attention in early years teacher education.
KeywordsEarly years Science education Creativity Comparative study Policy
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 289081.
We would also like to mention and thank the following researchers and their teams, who contributed directly to the reported part of the research and were not co-authors of this paper: Prof. Teresa Cremin, Prof. Anna Craft, Dr. Jim Clack, Dr. Andrew Manches, Dr. Ashley Compton, Alison Riley, Dr. Hilde Van Houte, Prof. Annette Scheersoi, Prof. Manuel Filipe Costa, Prof. Paulo Varela, Dr. Dan Sporea, Dr. Adelina Sporea, Dr. Olga Megalakaki and Prof. Suzanne Gatt.
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