Creating collective scientific consciousness: A cultural-historical study of early learning about earth and space in the context of family imaginary play

Yijun Hao, Marilyn Fleer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Based on a cultural-historical perspective, where play is conceptualized as the creation of animaginary situation, this study seeks to examine how scientific learning is fostered throughcollectively created imaginary situations during everyday family practices. This study forms part of a broader study, and in this paper the focus is on a three-year-old child and his family from Mainland China. A theoretical discussion of data collected reveals that a collectively created imaginary situation provides the conditions for a child’s exploration of scientific phenomenon not directly observable (e.g. Earth rotation and revolution). A form of collectively supported scientific consciousness was realized through discussions, imagining and re-imagining of everyday objects as scientific phenomenon. Scientific laws, as the rules of the scientific play being enacted by the family,enabled the child to be both imagining and viscerally experiencing which cannot be seen. The findings contribute to understanding how families create playful conditions that support scientific learning in the early childhood period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-124
Number of pages32
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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