experience gained in the classroom have influence, a caveat was raised. Although the value of practical knowledge seems clear, it is important to remember that it does not offer the same possibility of reliability that formal research does. In general, there are only informal ways to try to replicate practice to confirm the conclusions it seems to yield, and there is an ever present danger that anecdotal experience might be confused with confirmed results. Nevertheless, maintaining tight connections to classroom experience seems to offer researchers an important way of guarding against a variety of pitfalls.
Reflecting on the day’s discussion, participants agreed that a clear challenge is to determine how the available research fits together and to identify findings that are sufficiently robust to be trustworthy guides for action, as well as developed at a level of detail that makes them meaningful at a practical level. A number of research questions and goals were identified throughout the day as having particular merit in the context of what many participants regarded as urgent problems with the current state of preschool education, and the report closes with these.
What are young children (3- and 4-year-olds) capable of learning? What is the floor (or ceiling) of their competence?
What is there to be learned from international colleagues and practical experience in other countries?
What are the learning trajectories in the domains of mathematics and science?
What role does the integration of knowledge across mathematics and science play in children’s learning trajectories?
What principles should guide decisions regarding content for preschool curricula?
How can children in different environments best be supported in learning mathematics and science?