University of New Hampshire
Psychology and German
Mentor: Dr. Michelle Leichtman, Department of Psychology
The Effect of Mother-Child Conversation on Science Learning in Kindergarten Age Children
Forty mother-child pairs will participate in a study of the effects of elaborative mother-child conversation on children’s memory of a science learning event. Children will take part in a science learning event in their kindergarten classroom, and will then have a recorded conversation about the event with their mothers that night at home. Half the mothers will receive specific training (through written instruction) on how to engage their children in an elaborative conversation, and half will be instructed to converse in whatever way is natural for them. One week after the event, researchers will interview participating children at their school. Mother-child conversations and researcher-child interviews will be transcribed and coded for analysis. We expect children of trained mothers to recall more details from the science learning event. The effect of mother-child conversation is important to study as it presents a simple, low-cost way to potentially improve young children’s learning in science, an area where U.S. education has fallen in comparison with other countries.