As science centers and children’s museums re-define their roles in a society that is increasingly linguistically diverse, many seek to engage more effectively with preschool dual language learners. At present, museum professionals face the challenge of developing programs and practices in the absence of research on informal science education for this population.
Expanding Repertoires of Practice: Improving Informal Science Learning Experience for Preschool Dual Language Learners was a collaboration between the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and The Ohio State University (OSU) to begin the systematic study of science and children’s museum programs and practices for preschool dual language learners, their families, and the community organizations and early childhood professionals who serve them.
The project was led by Leslie C. Moore (OSU) and Azuka MuMin (COSI).
The overarching goal of the project was to advance the knowledge and awareness of needs and practices related to informal science programming for preschool children who are acquiring basic language skills in their first language while at the same time acquiring English as an additional language. The project sought to identify gaps in existing research and practice, as well as promising foci for future study and improvement and expansion of museum practice.
The project was funded by a National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Pathways grant (DRL #1420724). The AISL program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; and advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments.