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    Clouds as natural entities in preschool children’s thought
    Georgantopoulou, Akrivi; Fragkiadaki, Glykeria; Ravanis, Konstantinos; Γεωργαντοπούλου, Ακριβή; Φραγκιαδάκη, Γλυκερία; Ραβάνης, Κωνσταντίνος
    Τμήμα Επιστημών της Εκπαίδευσης και της Αγωγής στην Προσχολική Ηλικία (Δημοσ. Π.Π. σε περιοδικά)
    This research paper seeks to determine pre- schoolers’ representations about the general characteristics of the natural phenomenon of clouds, their reasoning about the consisting elements and the formation procedures of clouds and finally, their ideas about the existence of clouds through time. The sample consisted of 22 children (12 boys and 10 girls) aged 5.5-6 years from one public kindergarten in an urban area in Greece. Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews. The analysis of the qualitative data showed that although the preschoolers had fruitful representations, the majority of them encountered difficulties on approaching several aspects of the phenomenon. Children’s reasoning about the phenomenon also seemed to be without a stable and coherent structure. The need for a categorization of pre- schoolers’ representations based on the use of a system of concrete criteria and the prospect of a didactic approach leading to the creation of a precursor model is designated.
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    Genetic research methodology meets Early Childhood Science Education Research : a cultural-historical study of child’s scientific thinking development
    Fragkiadaki, Glykeria; Ravanis, Konstantinos; Φραγκιαδάκη, Γλυκερία; Ραβάνης, Κωνσταντίνος
    Τμήμα Επιστημών της Εκπαίδευσης και της Αγωγής στην Προσχολική Ηλικία (Δημοσ. Π.Π. σε περιοδικά)
    The study reported in this paper aims to structure a cultural-historical understanding on how early childhood children experience science and how they develop scientific thinking as they interact with the social, cultural and material world. Moving beyond the cognitive dimensions of learning by interrelating different aspects of the process of children’s scientific thinking development constitutes a research priority for the study. From a wide range of collected data, in the present article one qualitative empirical case study is presented. The detailed single example that is analyzed refers to a kindergarten female student, aged 5.2 years old, from an urban area of Greece. A developmental research methodology as specified from the requirements of cultural-historical theory framework is used. Following four of the main principles of the experimental genetic method, this study creates a fecund ground for a cultural-historical exploration and interpretation of the very processes of the child’s development. The collection of the data was achieved through expanded, open-type conversations conducted at three concrete phases between the case study child, two of her peers and the educator. Drawing upon the system of theoretical concepts of cultural-historical theory the analysis is mainly based on the concept of perezhivanie as analytical tool as well as the concept of the developmental trajectories. The concept of the conceptualization of a precursor model as a theoretical tool that derives from the field of Science Education is also used. The analysis gives insights into how a certain social situation between children and educators in kindergarten settings becomes the unique social situation of a child’s development. Using as a base the dialectic perspective that Vygotsky posed in the analysis of human psyche, the study in this paper offers a creative insight in order to elaborate on a broad and dynamic understanding of the child’s development instead of an individualistic and static interpretation on her cognitive evolution. This cultural-historical reading is essential in capturing the child’s thinking in all its complexity as well as the uniqueness of the child. Summarizing the above, in this paper, new directions are laid for a more fruitful and dynamic support of young children’s learning and development in science through cultural- based educational practices and settings in kindergarten.
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    Preschool children’s mental representations of clouds
    (Journal of Baltic Science Education, ) Fragkiadaki, Glykeria; Ravanis, Konstantinos; Φραγκιαδάκη, Γλυκερία; Ραβάνης, Κωνσταντίνος
    Τμήμα Επιστημών της Εκπαίδευσης και της Αγωγής στην Προσχολική Ηλικία (Δημοσ. Π.Π. σε περιοδικά)
    Children construct representations of concepts and physical phenomena and these representations are critical to education. The natural phenomenon of clouds is perceivable and also observable by young children in everyday life. Moreover, it is a subject approached by the early childhood science education curriculums. However, in several studies it is noticed that the related children’s representations are often incompatible with the scientific model, mainly because of its character, which is macroscopic and not immediately observable. In this research, clouds representationsframed by children aged 4.5-6 years old are studied. The sample consisted of sixteen (16) children (7 boys and 9 girls) from one public kindergarten in an urban area of Greece. Data were collected through expanded, open type conversations between children pairs and one of the researchers. The results of the qualitative analysis of the conversations show that these children use different types of representations, the majority dominated by the nature of the substance under study. The outcome of the research results indicates the potentials of preschool children to perceive clouds as autonomous natural entities.