Research in Early Childhood Education

“If your heart were a part of your home, what type of space would it embody?”.

“When you go on a holiday outside of São Paulo, do you notice more trees within the city limits or outside of them?”.

“Which animals have you ever seen or observed up close?”

These are a few research projects that be.Living’s kindergarten students have accomplished at home this year. At an early age, they have the chance to learn how to conduct research in a clear, appropriate, and meaningful manner, which is a vital tool for learning and gaining knowledge.

Our pedagogical coordinator, Camila Maia, explains that research conducted in Early Childhood Education has diverse purposes. “When educators plan to introduce a new subject or initiate a project with their students, research helps them to gauge the existing knowledge of the children. This enables them with more resources and insights when starting the discussion. In other instances, research serves as a means to enhance understanding. Specifically, when children possess prior knowledge on a given subject or are actively engaged in a project related to a particular topic, research is conducted to deepen that knowledge”.

In this sense, the coordinator asserts that research is strongly linked to the social worth of the knowledge being constructed within the school. “Research encourages children to continually question how they can connect what they learn at school with their everyday lives, including their family life and the places they go to”.

Camila explains that at this age, children and their families conduct research together. “We stress the significance of families completing the projects with their children. When we send the research project home, we explain what is expected from each question. This allows the family to contribute to the group and the child’s development. The children complete a paper with their answers to the question the teacher asks at home. Most of the time, we request that family members provide a written response, though they may also send images such as a magazine clipping, photo, drawing, or graphic to supplement their answer, aiding the child in sharing with their peers during circle time.

According to Camila, arriving at school with completed research, sitting in a circle and sharing findings with the group is a crucial stage of this project. “Research plays a vital role in sharing knowledge and strengthening the sense of belonging to the group. It is crucial to involve families in this process. Through meetings, updates, and various strategies, we share the journey of the groups with family members. Knowing what the group is working on enables families to conduct more meaningful research, providing confident written information and utilizing images for the child to refer to when sharing their knowledge”.

The partnership with families is a critical pillar in all the work conducted in Early Childhood Education at be.Living “We invite families to our school and organize events and activities on our calendar to encourage meaningful interactions and play. These events also provide opportunities for us to share the experiences and progress of each child and group. We understand that it is essential for families to follow what the children are experiencing so that they can support and make sense, from the outside, of what the children are learning here. We often hear from children that their families took them to an exhibition to learn about a certain artist they were introduced to at school, or that they went on an outing related to something they learned in class. This partnership with families invites children to continue learning beyond the classroom, appreciating and showcasing their unique narratives and contributions to culture and knowledge. Even for the Blue children who are older and could create their own record, we still view this moment of family exchange as crucial. It allows for a deep emotional connection where the child can share something personally important in their life with their parents”.   

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