ASTROPEST’s objectives were to develop an astronomy teaching and learning module for preschool teachers in Malaysia, apply the modules and assess the level of awareness of the target group regarding the importance of astronomy. Preschool teachers received training in fundamentals of astronomy, hands-on activities, such as how to build a sundial with a practical work for a 2 days training for a target of 50 participants. Through this program, we provided exposure and awareness to the target groups about the relevance of astronomy in everyday life, for example as daily movement of the sun can provide us with the apparent time of the sun. This program involved a variety of face-to-face activities that provided and displayed interesting teaching and learning opportunities. The program consisted of four activities namely knowledge sharing, demonstration, hands-on and stargazing. The activities conducted in this program targeted 15 preschool teachers, 40 preschool students, and 40 participants from the local community.
1. Create a questionnaire to determine the degree of awareness, understanding, and readiness of the preschool teachers to impart astronomical information to the preschool pupils through an online meeting on April 20, 2022, lasting around three hours.
2. On June 26, 2022, a 5-hour event called Let’s Explore the Space was conducted and given to preschoolers at Tabika KEMAS Indah Pintar in Taman Sri Pulai. 30 preschoolers participated in the exercise while following COVID guidelines such wearing a mask and sanitizer.
3. On July 1, 2022, the Committee members had a three-hour online conference to prepare a questionnaire on the awareness, understanding, and readiness of preschool teachers to teach astronomy to young kids.
4. To gather preliminary data on the comprehension, awareness, and readiness of preschool instructors across Malaysia to teach astronomy in their classes, a set of Google Form surveys were given to them. On or around July 15, 2022, the questionnaire was delivered to preschool teachers. The survey received responses from more than 100 people.
5. Processing and analyzing the respondent answering the questionnaire has been done at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The activity was done on 01 August 2022 to 03 August 2022 for about 3 days. 144 respondents answered the online Google Form.
6. Meeting on searching for the material and literature review of a selected topics to develop the Astronomy module. This activity has been done on 15 August to 30 August 2022 for 2 weeks at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
7. Organized a first workshop on developing the Astronomy module for Preschool Teachers among committee members. The workshop has been done at Bayview Hotel Melaka on 09 to 11 September 2022 for 3 days duration. .
8. A second workshop on developing the Astronomy module for Preschool Teachers among committee members has been organize at UTM Scholar’s Inn on 04 – 05 October 2022 about 2 days duration.
9. The Astronomy Teaching and Learning Module for Pre School-Teachers has been finalized at online meeting on 22 October 2022 about 4 hours meeting. Ten committee members has attended the conversation.
10. Knowledge Transfer of Astronomy Teaching and Learning Module for Pre School-Teachers has been conducted at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The workshop was done on 02 – 03 December 2022 with 2 days activities. 15 participants have participated and contribute idea to this workshop.
11. Astronomy Xplorace has been organized at primary school namely Sekolah Rendah Mutiara Rini 1. The activity was carried out on 02 January 2023 approximately 5 hours of activities. This activity has attracted 50 participants.
12. Berond the Sky has been organized at preschool namely Tadika Albaghdadi Playtime Centre, Pulai Mutiara. The activity was carried out on 25 January 2023 approximately 5 hours of activities. This activity has attracted 54 participants.
13. Astrorace has been organized at secondary school namely Sekolah Menangah Kebangsaan (Agama) Johor Bahru. The activity was carried out on 02 February 2023 approximately 5 hours of activities. This activity has attracted 45 participants.
Questionnaires were distributed to the participants before and after the training workshop in order to gather their feedback. The training workshop participants were accompanied by a total of 15 participants, of whom 87% (n=13) were female preschool teachers, while 13% (n=2) were male preschool teachers. They all had more than 3 years of teaching experience between them. Furthermore, 10 of the participants (67%) had less than 5 years of teaching experience, followed by 4 people or 27% of teachers who had more than 6 years of teaching experience and another teacher (6%) with 15 to 20 years of teaching experience.
The results shows that the level of awareness, understanding and readiness of the participants has increased to the score 5 to 10 after attending the training workshop.
- Preschools teachers awareness, understanding and readiness to teach astronomy to the preschool children has been increased after the workshop training.
- Teachers feel competent in the content of this project and use of the astronomical resources. This project has improved teaching techniques on the astronomy knowledge.