Capturing and Developing Early Childhood Teachers’ Science Pedagogical Content Knowledge Through CoRes

Nilsson, P., & Elm, A.
Journal of Science Teacher Education, 28(5), 406-424.


The purpose of this study is to investigate how the use of CoRe (Content Representations) can help early childhood teachers in planning and reflecting on their science teaching and in developing their Pedagogical Content Knowledge, PCK. CoRe is a tool to make a detailed overview of didactic considerations and it is used when teaching science.


The results indicate that the use of CoRe helps the early childhood teachers to plan and focus on the science content of their activities and teaching practice. Moreover, the tool helps them establish fundamental ideas of the topic they are teaching. According to the researchers, the teachers' reflections on their activities and teaching practice help create a foundation for their pedagogical knowledge. In addition, the results indicate that using CoRe makes the early childhood teachers more confident in what they are teaching, why they are teaching and how they are teaching, as CoRe helps create a more clear objective and focus. The early childhood teachers also highlight that their participation in the various professional-development activities of the course helped increase their confidence, as they gained more insight into the science content. Finally, the results indicate that CoRe helps the early childhood teachers become more aware of the children's learning processes and interests. In conjunction with increased confidence, the researchers point out that the early childhood teachers tested the new PCK approach to meet the children's learning needs.


The study was based on an intervention in the form of a course prepared by the researchers. The aim of the course was to develop the early childhood teachers' knowledge about science teaching to better stimulate children's interest in science subject areas. The course ran over six months, during which the researchers held meetings with the early childhood teachers twice a month. A total of 46 early childhood teachers took part in the course. On the first day of the course, the early childhood teachers were introduced to the CoRe tool. The aim of the tool was to develop the teachers' PCK using questions and reflections regarding science teaching. During the six months, the early childhood teachers had to document how working with CoRe had affected their PCK. The data material consisted of 21 CoRe forms and 27 reflective reports prepared by the early childhood teachers in groups during the course. In addition, the early childhood teachers documented their teaching practice through photographs, interviews with children and observations with field notes. The researchers also used this documentation as data material. The data material was transcribed and analysed using an inductive approach. A third researcher was involved during the analysis process to provide feedback on the analytical process.


Nilsson, P., & Elm, A. (2017). Capturing and Developing Early Childhood Teachers’ Science Pedagogical Content Knowledge Through CoRes. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 28(5), 406-424.