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


Image source: Education Development Center and SRI International

CPB-PBS Ready to Learn Initiative just released a first of its kind survey on more than 1,400 parents of children ages 3-6 about their attitudes, beliefs and practices related to early learning. What Parents Talk About When They Talk About Learning:  A National Survey About Young Children and Science’s goal is to bring attention to the experiences families have in helping their young children learn, especially families with limited financial resources. The survey oversampled parents living in economically disadvantaged communities; 909 of 1,442 families (63%) had an annual household income of $50,000 or less.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • 85 percent of parents say their children will not learn everything they need to know in school
  • 61 percent of parents feel they bear the most responsibility for helping their children learn
  • Most parents are confident about their ability to teach their young children math, literacy and behavior, but fewer are confident about science.  
  • Mothers are less likely to be very confident about supporting children’s science learning, but are more likely than fathers to do science with their children daily
  • More lower income parents report engaging in science-related activities with their children daily than higher income parents

The full report includes rich descriptions of parent experiences in their own words, a full set of findings, survey questions, data tables, key takeaways and much more. Visit: edc.org/what-parents-talk-about 

Both short and long versions of the report, along with the study’s press release, infographics, and recommended PBS KIDS resources for family science activities are available at:

https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/research-what-parents-talk-about/ready-to-learn/#.Wo3MBvkrKUk