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Mathematics in the Preschool - Dissertation Example

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Preschool is a time when children may first encounter mathematical learning, however, much recent research has indicated that preschool children have the ability to understand a variety of mathematical concepts even prior to entering kindergarten…
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Mathematics in the Preschool
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Download file to see previous pages That is why early childhood programs are increasingly expected to implement mathematics instruction in classrooms because of young children’s early mathematical knowledge. Development of early math skills provides the foundation for later learning (Clements & Sarama, 2008; NAEYC & NCTM, 2008; Lee & Ginsburg, 2008). The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000) emphasizes the need to provide high quality early childhood mathematics programs in preschools because a solid mathematical foundation in early childhood is essential. At this age, young children are building their own perceptions of what math is – what it means to know and do math and even about themselves as math learners. “These beliefs influence their thinking about, performance in, and attitudes toward mathematics and decisions related to studying mathematics in later years” (p. 98) According to the NCTM, the quality of mathematical education in early childhood plays an important part in the child’s understanding of possibly difficult math concepts (Loop, 2009). Although there have been many studies pertaining to patterns of mathematical teaching in preschool, there is a lack of research on how teachers of mathematics perceive how young children learn math concepts and even what to teach in accordance to the developmental level of young children. That is why enhancing early childhood education teachers’ confidence and competence in teaching math is considered a route to improvement of mathematics instruction in preschool. Sarama & DiBiase suggests that early childhood teacher training focus both on mathematics content and teachers’ dispositions towards math, reflecting the need for highly qualified professionals (2004). The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethics states: “In decisions concerning children’s programs, we shall draw upon the education, experience, and expertise of staff members” (Decker, Decker, Freeman, & Knorpf, 2009, p.359). This principle pertains to the ideal of professional training and development of early childhood educators, “To further the professional development of the field of early childhood care and education and to strengthen its commitment to realizing its core values” (Decker et al, 2009, p.361). Early childhood educators need training for all the tasks expected of them when they begin teach young children. Being an effective teacher encompasses a wide spectrum of responsibilities – from designing an environment conducive to learning, to planning appropriate lessons for young children and implementing them with effective educational strategies, to being able to manage the class well and instilling discipline in the children, to involving parents and coordinating with others regarding the provision of quality education for the children. It takes effort to be able to manage all these skills at the same time, hence professional training with experience is required. The current study has taken inspiration and ideas from the work of Platas (2008) entitled “Measuring Teachers’ Knowledge of Early Mathematical Development and their Beliefs about Mathematics Teaching and Learning in the Preschool Classroom”. Platas was able to measure the knowledge of early mathematical development and beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning in the preschool classroom of preschool teachers through the use of developed and validated survey instruments and statistical analysis (2008). The study found a significant ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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