ERIC Number: ED418774
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Feb
Math, Science, and Technology in Early Childhood Education.
Bowman, Barbara T.
Given the social importance of math, science and technology knowledge, the importance of establishing competence in a subject area early, and the link between early experience and subsequent achievement, it is puzzling that math, science, and technology do not have greater prominence in the preschool curriculum. This paper reviews some of the forces and trends that help frame early childhood curricula in these subjects, noting that controversy over teaching mathematics and science in preschools often begins with the conflicting theories of development and learning. The differing theoretical perspectives examined include the constructivist theory; the Romantic view of children rooted in Rousseau's theories; the basic skills approach; the social context perspective; and the developmentally appropriate practices perspective. Each theory offers a different emphasis on science and math. The paper also suggests that some conflict about how and what to teach young children arises from differing beliefs about the future and educational needs of citizens of the twenty-first century. The effect of educational quality concerns on preschool science and math is also addressed; generally, questions about standards have led to back-to-basics practices which reject new standards and teaching methods that might include interactive learning and motivation for science and math activities. Finally, the paper explores issues posed by involving high-risk children in math and science curriculum. (JPB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Erikson Inst. for Advanced Study in Child Development, Chicago, IL.
Note: Paper presented at the Forum on Early Childhood Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (Washington, DC, February 6-8, 1998).