Spatial reasoning and geometry in early childhood: educator observations, assessment, and curriculum planning
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-03-18.
© 2018 Dr. Rachel Pollitt
Children are innately mathematical and explore mathematical concepts through play. Recent research has suggested that spatial reasoning is a key concept that forms the foundations of all mathematics learning. The theoretical argument underpinning this research project is that children, from a young age, benefit from explicit teaching specifically focused on supporting the learning of spatial reasoning skills. This research project investigated the implementation of a suite of assessment activities on educator beliefs about mathematics in early childhood education, by analysing teaching practices that included observations, assessments, and evidence-based planning of mathematics curricula. The study found reciprocal influences between the three key areas of the research project, which included the implementation of the assessment activities, educator beliefs about mathematics in early childhood education, and mathematics teaching practice. The findings have implications for further research, policymaking, and practice, which include the need for play-based mathematics assessment strategies, research methodologies that can contribute to professional learning enacted in practice, and the contribution of a focus on spatial reasoning to early childhood mathematics curricula.
Keywordsspatial reasoning and geometry; mathematics in early childhood education, pedagogy and teaching practice, play-based mathematics assessment activities; the Early Years Planning Cycle; professional learning and mentoring; formative assessment; six play-based assessment activities; educator beliefs about mathematics; Diagnostic Pedagogy Model; educator beliefs inform the prioritising of mathematics in early childhood programs; educator observations; early years curriculum planning; early years mathematics curriculum; early childhood mathematics education and research; explicit teaching and play-based mathematics assessment for learning; spatial reasoning; working memory; Victorian Curriculum - Mathematics; Australian Curriculum - Mathematics; the Early Years Learning Framework, the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework; evidence-based planning for children's mathematics learning
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