3Hs Education: Examining hands-on, heads-on and hearts-on early childhood science education

İnan H. Z., Inan T.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION, vol.37, pp.1974-1991, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Active engagement has become the focus of many early childhood science education curricula and standards. However, active engagement usually emphasizes getting children engaged with science solely through hands-on activities. Active engagement by way of hands, heads, and hearts are kept separate and rarely discussed in terms of getting all to work together, although inquiry-based education and student interest have been accepted as important in science education. The current study is an inquiry-based research. It aims to describe and examine projects and activity stations for preschoolers in a Turkish preschool classroom bringing together the pieces of the puzzle of science education, called here 'Hands-Heads-Hearts-on Science Education'. The study, conducted from a qualitative-interpretivist paradigm, reveals that activity stations and projects create a context for hands-on (active engagement), heads-on (inquiry based or mental-engagement), and hearts-on (interest based) science education. It is found that activity stations and projects, when maintained by appropriate teacher-support, create a playful context in which children can be actively and happily engaged in science-related inquiry.