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MSU study finds need for more math & science instruction in pre-schools

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study finds pre-schoolteachers need better training in science and math.

Researchers studied 67 Head Start classrooms for children between three and five years old. They found pre-school teachers focused primarily on literacy.

The MSU researchers say 99% of preschool teachers engaged in literacy instruction three to four times a week. However, they found teachers spent less time on math (75%) and far less on science (42%). 

Hope Gerde is an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.   She says it’s easier teaching science to three, four and five year olds than people may believe.

“Young children are natural scientists,” says Gerde, “They are very excited to engage in science and math…and they are quite adept at understanding these concepts.”

Gerde predicts increasing math and science lessons in pre-school may help improve children’s understanding of math and science later in life.

The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is published in the journal Early Education and Development.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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