Nature’s Role in Young Children’s Everyday Science Learning

A Case Study


  • Kathryn J. Andrews St. Bonaventure University


informal science learning, nature-based learning, young children, emergent science, parents as educators


To help address the lack of research in early science learning, this exploratory case study investigated a 7-year-old girl’s conceptions of what counts as science in an everyday context. Abigail’s view of science was fuelled by discovering interesting things during daily mundane activities. Her mom supported learning with a “sense-making” approach as an alternative to “correcting” Abigail’s underdeveloped ideas. Interestingly, nature afforded many science learning opportunities that were often a result of the changing natural environment. Results from this study suggest ways to begin dismantling narrow ideas of science in which textbooks and teachers are the authority.

Author Biography

Kathryn J. Andrews, St. Bonaventure University

Kathryn J. Andrews is an assistant professor in the School of Education at St. Bonaventure University. St. Bonaventure is a small liberal arts university located in rural Western New York. She teaches early childhood and elementary education courses in an undergraduate program. As a researcher, she continually adopts the use of innovative research methods to better understand childhood learning that gives a voice to children and their families. Her research emphasizes how curriculum is able to best leverage informal learning in childhood, includes a strong commitment to teacher and multicultural education, and exemplifies her dedication to the field of education