Catching the moments – coteaching to stimulate science in the preschool context.

Nilsson, P.
Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 43(4), 296-308.


The article presents a professional development project (PD), the aim of which is to develop preschool teachers’ understanding of and competencies in science, their confidence with regard to teaching science, as well as their knowledge of science and how to include science activities in a preschool context. As part of the project, the preschool teachers worked together to plan and carry out science activities. Moreover, they reflected on these activities together. Based on their activities and reflections, the study examines how working together - co-teaching - affects the teachers’ approach to science.


The analysis of the data material from the seminars and focus-group interviews shows how the PD project affected the teachers’ attitude toward, and knowledge about, science and how to teach science in a preschool setting. The author concludes that when the preschool teachers reflected on their activities together and learnt from one another, this significantly affected their approach to teaching science activities. Working together enabled the teachers to generate a shared understanding of what it means to work with science in a preschool setting.


The author emphasises three overall factors that led to the preschool teachers developing their science teaching practices during the project. First of all, they became more confident with regard to working with science activities in a preschool setting. They discovered that they did not need to be able to answer all of the questions the children asked, but rather that they could find good answers and solutions to scientific challenges together with the children and their colleagues. By reflecting on and discussing their teaching with colleagues, the preschool teachers became more confident about teaching science, and their enthusiasm with regard to taking on science activities in the preschool grew.


Secondly, the teachers’ collaboration and shared responsibility for science activities led to new ways of working with science in a preschool setting. Their collaborative reflection and sharing of experiences inspired the teachers to take new approaches and build on ideas put forward by their colleagues or the children.


Finally, the study indicates that the PD project heightened the teachers’ awareness of how they communicated with both the children and with each other. They discovered that by including each other and the children in shared discussions about science, they enhanced both their own and the children’s science skills.


A total of nine teachers from three preschools, i.e. three teachers from each preschool, participated in the professional development project. The project lasted one year and consisted of seminars and lectures, practical activities and reflection seminars where the participating teachers in groups reflected on and analysed the science activities they had conducted in their teaching. The preschool teachers also worked together in groups of three to plan and conduct science activities in the preschools. The data material consists of sound recordings of reflection seminars and focus-group interviews with the teachers.


Nilsson, P. (2015). Catching the moments – coteaching to stimulate science in the preschool context. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 43(4), 296-308.

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