Original Research

Learning and teaching natural science in the early years: A case study of three different contexts

Angela James
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 1 | a23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i1.23 | © 2012 Angela James | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2012

About the author(s)

Angela James, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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Currently many children in early childhood education cannot be accommodated in provincial department schools. Consequently, different non-governmental institutions offer Grade R programmes in an attempt to support the DBE. Pre-primary schools that traditionally took responsibility for early childhood education also offer Grade R education. The recent policy decision to include Grade R in the primary school is an innovation, which is still in its infancy. It is against this background that the national South African Curriculum (NCS) has to be implemented. This paper focuses on the teaching of natural science in Grade R and attempts to determine if the teaching and learning of natural science has different outcomes in the different contexts described above. An oral questionnaire was administered to capture children’s understanding of natural science phenomena, while interviews provided data with regard to teachers’ understanding of natural science in the foundation phase. The results show that there are differences in children’s understanding of natural phenomena in the different contexts and these differences are related to teachers’ understanding of the curriculum, as well as their views of the nature of science.


Grade R; science teaching; process skills; teachers’ understanding of science.


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Crossref Citations

1. South African primary school learners’ understandings about the nature of scientific inquiry
M. Penn, U. Ramnarain, M. Kazeni, T. Dhurumraj, L. Mavuru, S. Ramaila
Education 3-13  vol: 49  issue: 3  first page: 263  year: 2021  
doi: 10.1080/03004279.2020.1854956