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Enhancing Early Childhood Educators' Reflective Practice and Content Knowledge to Increase Children's Capacity for Science Talk

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Soo-Young Hong

Co-Principal Investigators: LaDonna Werth, Lisa Poppe, Deepika Menon, Doug Golick

Funding Information

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Award Date: Sep 1, 2023

End Date: Aug 31, 2026


This exploratory project will develop and pilot a reflective practice-based professional development model for early childhood science education in early care and education settings serving children ages 4 and 5 in rural Nebraska communities. 

Researchers aim to develop an early childhood science professional development model for early care and education settings in rural Nebraska communities that strengthens educators' science content knowledge and reflective practice, and enhances their capacity to support young children's science learning. They also aim to explore the change in educators' reflection on their teaching practices, their content knowledge of science concepts and practices, and their use of science talk in their practices in association with the change in children's use of science talk and behaviors. 

In the first year, the research team will develop a professional development model for use in rural Nebraska. In year two, the professional development model will be tested with a small group of early childhood educators in rural Nebraska.

Early Childhood Education and Development

The project research team includes, front row, from left: Lisa Poppe, Sarah Paulos, Deepika Menon and Christine Wittich. Back row, from left: Marianna Burks, Maddie Pieper, HyeonJin Yoon, Soo-Young Hong, LaDonna Werth and Doug Golick.