|dc.description.abstract||The 21st century with all of its technological advances also brings about challenges
for science teaching in preparing the adults of tomorrow for the challenges of the
future. Science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics education has become
crucial in the preparation of the future citizens of the modern world.
The rationale for this study is to obtain an in-depth view of the development of the
young child in terms of the possibility of scientific reflection, as well as identifying
possible methodology and content in the teaching and learning of science relevant to
specific age phases. Based on this information, a framework for the teaching and
learning of science by the young child is created. The framework should enable the
learning of science that can be utilised by future policy developers of curricula, not
only in South Africa but also in an international context.
The cultural-historical activity theory of Vygotsky and the post-Vygotskians is used for
studying the development of the young child in terms of physical, mental, emotional,
and social development. Vygotsky’s constructivist theory defines age in terms of
specific changes that take place in the structure of the child’s mental processes and
the major developmental accomplishments that emerge as the child is growing up in
a unique social situation of development. Without the child’s needs, inclinations,
incentives, and motives to act, there will never be any advance from one stage to the
next. Each advance from one age-related level to another relates to an abrupt change
in motives and incentives to act.
The methodologies investigated for the development of scientific reflection of the
young child was play, playworlds or scientific playworlds, and inquiry-based science
education. Play is defined by Vygotsky and other post-Vygotskian scholars, such as
Leontiev and Elkonin, as dramatic or make-believe play. Make-belief play has the
following three components: creating an imaginary situation; taking on and acting out
roles; and following a set of rules determined by specific roles.
The concept of playworlds was coined by Lindqvist and based on Vygotsky’s theory.
Lindqvist made use of stories and the dramatisation of stories, where the stories had
traces of basic conflict situations. Children often relate to their surroundings in a
dramatic way. Play is a dynamic meeting between the child’s internal activities
(emotions and thoughts) and external ones. Scientific playworlds begin with a
collective imaginary situation, drawing on a cultural device relating to the science to
be learnt, and make it necessary for children to go on a scientific journey, producing
the dynamic imaginary scientific context. Children then need to build a scientific
narrative to solve scientific problems. The imaginary play is the context, the motive,
and the narrative, binding together science learning for children.
The third pedagogy considered for science teaching of the young child is inquiry-based
science education. Scientific inquiry represents the diverse ways in which scientists
work to generate and validate knowledge. It involves the gathering of evidence, the
consideration of possible explanations, and is about performing experiments and
Content for a science curriculum was investigated to identify content that would be
applicable for children in the different age groups. The possible content can be divided
into physics, chemistry, biology or ecology, and planets, systems, and electronic