Developing Turkish preservice preschool teachers attitudes and understanding about teaching science through play

Bulunuz M.

International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, vol.7, no.2, pp.141-166, 2012 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


This research studied the development of preservice teachers’ understandings and attitudes about teaching science through playful experiences. Subjects were 94 senior preservice teachers in two sections of a science methods class on teaching preschool children. Data sources were semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaire at the beginning and end of the semester, students’ reflections on their field placement implementation, and a Playful Science Survey. At the beginning of the course, preservice teachers perceived teaching science through play primarily as drama and puppetry and saw it as an instrument for teaching, demonstrating, having fun, making competition, and making learning easier. At the end of the semester, the following themes emerged from the interviews: children play with materials and ideas as they actively participate, teachers’ dialogue and questioning promotes exploration and variation in activity, children who are actively exploring can find answers by themselves and construct cause and effect relationships. At the end of the course, high mean ratings (4.5 out of 5) on the Playful Science Survey showed positive attitudes towards learning and teaching science and also recognizing the importance of play experiences in learning science and the importance of fun and active involvement in the science class and in the field assignments. Keywords: preschool science education; teaching through play; play-based learning; understanding; attitudes