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 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1060369
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1974-1991


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.