Small science: infants and toddlers experiencing science in everyday family life

Shukla Sikder, Marilyn Fleer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Vygotsky (1987) stated that the restructured form of everyday concepts learned at home and in the community interact with scientific concepts introduced in formal school settings, leading to a higher level of scientific thinking for school-aged children. But, what does this mean for the scientific learning of infants and toddlers? What kinds of science learning are afforded at home during this early period of life? The study reported in this paper sought to investigate the scientific development of infants-toddlers (10 to 36 months) growing up in Bangladeshi families living in Australia and Singapore. Four families were studied over 2 years. Digital video observations were made of everyday family life and analysed using Vygotsky s theoretical framework of everyday concepts and scientific concepts (51 h of digital observations). While there are many possibilities for developing scientific concepts in infants toddlers everyday life, our study found four categories of what we have called small science: multiple possibilities for science; discrete science; embedded science and counter intuitive science. The findings of this study contribute to the almost non-existent literature into infants and toddlers scientific development and advance new understandings of early childhood science education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)445 - 464
    Number of pages20
    JournalResearch in Science Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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