Early Childhood Education

Publication Date



Science teaching, Inquiry, Young children, Science curriculum, Science activities, Scientific concepts, Lower primary years, Preschool education


This is the second paper in the Science in the early years series that reviews current research into science learning and monitoring in the early years. The aim of this series is to provide early years educators with an insight into current research; highlight how research findings relate to children’s science learning; look at the current understandings about early years science monitoring; and provide examples of how early years educators can incorporate this research into their practices. This series defines ‘early years’ as the two years prior to school and the first three years of primary school, which in Australia generally includes children aged three to eight years. Children in the early years may attend early childhood centres, kindergartens or primary schools. Educational expectations for children of this age range are covered by the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for preschool children, and the Foundation to Year 2 Australian Curriculum (AC) for school students. This paper focuses on the importance and value of providing learning experiences that support the development of science inquiry skills (SIS) in the early years. The paper describes how developing children’s SIS are integral aspects of both the EYLF and the Foundation to Year 2 AC, and emphasises the importance of incorporating science contexts and content in the early years within an inquiry-based approach in which children conduct investigations into aspects of the world around them.

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Australia


Australian Council for Educational Research