Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Kere Hughes-Belding


Effective early science learning opportunities are critical for young children to build a solid foundation for subsequent development of concepts, as well as positive attitudes towards science (Eshach & Fried, 2005). However, these opportunities are often lacking in typical preschool classrooms (Connor, Morrison, & Slominski, 2006; Early et al., 2010). A multiple case study design was used to examine science learning opportunities in preschool classrooms using the Project Approach (PA; Helm & Katz, 2011). Guided by theoretical tenets from Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky, this study sought to explore the feasibility and efficacy of using the PA to promote high-quality science learning opportunities by examining the specific strategies teachers used to plan for authentic and meaningful experiences, structure the environment, and interact with children during project investigations. Within case and cross-case analyses of six classrooms revealed nine overall themes of strategies teachers used to promote high-quality science learning opportunities. Findings from this study are discussed in terms of four recommendations for practice and implications for future research regarding the relationship between the Project Approach and early science education.

Copyright Owner

Melissa Clucas



File Format


File Size

171 pages