MSU researchers help preschoolers get a head start in science

September 29, 2011

For the past five years, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Michigan State University has been exploring different ways to spark an interest in science for low-income students. Among the researchers is Christina Schwarz, associate professor of Teacher Education at the MSU College of Education.

The $2.6 million research initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, is called Head Start, and it will soon be tested in 72 preschool classrooms. During the testing period, all Head Start classrooms will receive the same curriculum materials, but only half will receive additional coaching about how to get kids actively interested in science. The other half will not receive coaching, and will serve as the study’s control group. Students participating in the study will be assessed before and after the testing period.

“There has been a movement to have more science and math preparation for kids before they enter elementary school, but most preschool teachers do not feel comfortable teaching science,” said Laurie Van Egeren, lead researcher.

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