What Parents Talk About When They Talk About Learning: A National Survey About Young Children and Science

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Resource Type:
Report | Research | Survey
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media, Pre-K/Early Childhood Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Parents/Caregivers | Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
General STEM
Ready to Learn Initiative

Previous research has identified parental involvement—the ways parents and other caring adults interact with children in and outside of the home, and the kinds of learning materials with which parents surround children—as key to helping children develop knowledge and skills in literacy and math (Bassok, Finch, Lee, Reardon, & Waldfogel, 2016; Burgess, Hecht, & Lonigan, 2002; Niklas, Nguyen, Cloney, Tayler, & Adams, 2016; Sénéchal & LeFevre, 2002; Skwarchuk, Sowinski, & LeFevre, 2014). Parental support may be critical to children’s developing knowledge and understanding in science as well.

This study used a nationally representative parent survey, combined with in-depth interviews and home visits with a smaller sample of families, to learn how parents of young children, particularly low-income parents, encourage and take part in their children’s learning, especially their science learning. This study also investigated parent perceptions and reported use of science-related educational media, such as television shows, videos, online games, and mobile apps.

Report created by Education Development Center, SRI Education as part of the Ready to Learn Initiative.

Survey and results are listed in the appendix.

Funding Program: 
Department of Education
Award Number: 
Funding Program: 
Award Number: 

Team Members

Megan SilanderMegan SilanderAuthor
Todd GrindalTodd GrindalAuthor
Naomi HupertNaomi HupertAuthor
Elisa GarciaElisa GarciaAuthor
Kea AndersonKea AndersonAuthor
Philip VaheyPhilip VaheyAuthor
Shelley PasnikShelley PasnikAuthor

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