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Head Start children’s science experiences in the home and community

Families make important contributions to children’s learning across multiple developmental domains by providing quality educational experiences in the home and community. Until now, it was unknown what resources low-income families provide at home and in their communities to support early childhood science education and how families’ own self-efficacy and beliefs about science and background characteristics relate to the opportunities they provide. The present study interviewed 300 parents, diverse in race/ethnicity, of Head Start children ages 4–5 years about the opportunities they provided in their home and community to support early science learning. In addition, families completed the Attitudes Toward Science Survey to identify their self-efficacy and beliefs about science. Results identified wide variation in the resources families provided in the home (e.g., toys, books, technology) and in the community (e.g., visits to park, nature center, zoo); families with more positive beliefs and higher self-efficacy for science were more likely to offer materials at home and access community resources to support science learning. In addition, child gender, family ethnicity and home language explained some of the variation in family supports for science. Implications of this work point to important investments in science education to be made by schools which leverage what families do at home. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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