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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674

Abstract

VAN NIEKERK, Retha. The development of scientific reasoning of preschool children: Micro-analysis of mind-material-body integration. SAJCE [online]. 2019, vol.9, n.1, pp.1-12. ISSN 2223-7682.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.574.

BACKGROUND: This article argues that the emergence of scientific reasoning in the preschool years could be augmented by caregivers and preschool teachers through nurturing 'Habits of Mind' (HOM) and 'Habits of Body' (HOB) of young children. This type of mind-material-body integration is proposed from an epistemological position that comprises a Hybrid (morphinuum) of theories about early learning and human development. AIM: The aim of this article is to present an exemplar of the capacity of one preschooler to show emergence and integration of two HOM, namely conjecturing and reasoning with invariance, in tandem with the Habit of Body (HOB), namely hand-eye coordination that can lay the foundation for scientific reasoning in the early years. SETTING: The study referred to in this article is an exemplar (case study) taken from a larger, 18-month educational design research intervention, the 'Little African Scientists Project'. That study investigated the emergent scientific HOM and HOB through a multimodal material approach to pedagogy at preschool level (Grade RR to R). METHODS: A three-layered digital video analysis was utilised to interpret the data pertaining to a specific interaction of one child, who was manipulating magnets during one of the many free-play activities that formed part of the larger project. RESULTS: Several specific HOM and HOB were evident in the one child who was engaged in an activity in which he was moving magnets. Two HOM that emerged were those of making and testing conjectures and reasoning with invariance, while the HOB that emerged was a close alignment of hand movement and eye coordination. CONCLUSION: This type of close observation and micro-analysis could be utilised for studies of more children in similar settings.

Keywords : Emergence; Conjecturing; Habits of Mind (HOM); Habits of Body (HOB); Image; Invariant.

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