"Children are natural scientists": Learning science in early childhood and early primary years


This research seeks to develop knowledge about ways preschool and early primary Singapore children engage in science learning. This is a first research study that introduces science to preschool and early primary children. In this study, qualitative research methods will be used to collect and analyse the data. The overall goal of the study is to develop knowledge about science learning in children, and thereby highlighting the importance of science education in the early childhood years.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

twteoTEO Tang Wee
PhD, MEd, BSc (first class honours), PGDE(S)
Assistant Professor

Tang Wee has graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2011. Her research interest in examining cultural issues in science curriculum was inspired by her research experience at a specialized STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or STEM-focused school in the United States. She strongly believes that to nurture scientifically literate learners, science should be taught in culturally relevant ways so that it becomes interesting and relevant. She hopes that her inaugural book on Culturally Relevant Science Activities (2014) co-written with Singapore teachers will inspire other colleagues to foreground culture in science teaching. Additionally, her current research work includes examining gender issues in science, technology, and engineering contexts. In particular, she uses the construct of ‘positionality’ to critically examine how female science teachers construct their identity at the intersectionality of science, gender, and education.

Co-Principal Investigator

ykyanYAN Yaw Kai
Associate Professor

Yaw Kai obtained his B.Sc. (Hon) in 1990 from the National University of Singapore and was awarded the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry Gold Medal (best chemistry Honours student) and the Lijen Industrial Development Medal (best Chemistry Honours research project). He stayed on to do M.Sc. research on the chemistry and XPS studies of rhenium carbonyl complexes. In 1991 he began Ph.D. research (supported by the NTU Overseas Graduate Scholarship and the Overseas Research Student Award, U.K.) with Professor Mike Mingos, then at the University of Oxford, working on charge-transfer salts based on metallacarborane complexes. In 1992 Yaw Kai moved to Imperial College, University of London, together with Professor Mingos, and completed his Ph.D. studies there in February 1995. He joined NIE as a lecturer in May 1995, and is currently Associate Professor. Yaw Kai received the Certificate of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Singapore) Education Award in 2001, and the GIST-SNIC Award in Chemistry Education in 2011.


wlmongOng Woei Ling Monica is an Academy Officer at the Standards and Research Branch in the Academy of Singapore Teachers. She graduated from NTU/NIE in 2001 with Bachelor of Arts with Diploma in Education, and obtained her Master of Arts in Leadership and Educational Change, through a joint programme between NTU/NIE and Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2014. Her research interest lies in teachers’ professional learning and educational equity.

Research Consultants

Margery D. Osborne is a Professor in Curriculum & Instruction at the College of Education at the University of Illinois.

Christina Siry is a Professor in Learning & Instruction at the Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) unit of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education at the University of Luxembourg.

Research Assistant

GOH Mei Ting
B.Soc.Sci. (Hons.)
Research Assistant

Mei Ting graduated with a B.Soc.Sci. (Hons.) in Psychology from the National University of Singapore in 2014. Since her undergraduate studies, Mei Ting has been interested in the development of young children and adolescents. Her research interest includes looking at the education of young children.

Contact Us

Please contact us at tangwee.teo@nie.edu.sg. Thank you.