Despite many scholars' recommendations, science is often avoided during early childhood education. Among the reasons provided by early childhood teachers for the exclusion of science from their daily routines included science anxiety, low self-efficacy with respect to teaching science, lack of experience participating in science activities as students, or the notion that literacy and language are more important during the early years. In minority populations the problem is even greater due to identification of science with the 'culture of. This article presents results from Ah Neen Dush, a sustained and transformative professional development program for Head Start teachers on an American Indian Reservation. The goal of the program is to support early childhood teachers in developing inquiry-based and culturally-relevant teaching practices. Through analysis of teachers' classroom practices, surveys and interviews, we explore changes in teachers' attitudes toward science and inquiry-based practices. Classroom observations were conducted using CLASS (Classroom assessment Scoring System), a tool used to evaluate the quality of classroom interactions. After 1 year of professional development teachers' attitudes were found to improve and after 2 years teachers classroom practices were more inquiry-based with statistically significant increases in CLASS observation scores.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was funded by a grant from the DHHS Administration of Children and Families Office of Head Start (#90YD0241-0).
- Culturally-relevant instruction
- Early childhood
- Professional development