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An early meeting with mathematics : Working with mathematics at a preschool

By Charlotte Frick

Abstract

This research is about the experience educationalists have of children encountering mathematics in a preschool. What is the impact of introducing mathematics in preschool? How do educationalists work with mathematics and how do they experience the children’s interest in mathematics?  The aim of this degree project is to examine how educationalists experience children´s interest in mathematics when they encounter mathematics at an early age. The degree project is limited to educationalists and children within a preschool located north of Stockholm. This research seeks answers to the following questions at issue. Does an early encounter with mathematics in preschool lead to increased interest in mathematics among children?  How can educationalists in preschool work in a appropriate way with mathematics to stimulate children to develop within mathematics and to increase their interest? How does educationalists in preschool experience children´s interest in mathematics? Theories by Piaget, Vygotskij and Dewey were used as well as former research in this subject. To answer the aim and the questions at issue in this research, three interviews was conducted with educationalists at the preschool and recorded with a Dictaphone. This was later listened to and written down word for word. The interview consisted of open questions. A questionnaire was also conducted which was handed out to twelve educationalists of which ten responded to. The result of the interviews and the questionnaire concluded to the following: The educationalists believed that an early meeting with mathematics in preschool could lead to increased interest in mathematics. That an early meeting is important emerged with two of the interviewed educationalists, and two of them even thought that it was really important. The answers to the interview emerged that a good way of working with mathematics is to use concrete material, challenging activities and to practice mathematics in a practical way. As concluded by the interviews, the children at the preschool has shown great interest in mathematics. According to the educationalists own experiences, the children had for example shown interest in mathematics during present gatherings. During the interview it was also concluded that children can be very interested if new material is introduced. Another educationalist experienced children´s interest as something very positive and meant that the children loved to count. The conclusions for this research is that children of all ages in preschool experiences mathematics as something fun, exiting, interesting, pleasant and challenging. Another conclusion is that it is important for children to use concrete material in preschool, that the material is available and visible for them to do their own research with. Competent educationalists are needed to stimulate and challenge the children when learning material is used.  The importance of children in preschool being challenged with different kinds of activities to reach new knowledge was also concluded in this research. The children acquire knowledge by learning mathematics in a practical way. My interpretation of this is that children in preschool experiences mathematics as something very positive and as an educationalist you need to work in a developing way and make mathematics visible in daily situations

Topics: Mathematics, Knowledge, Development, Learning, Matematik, Kunskap, Utveckling, Lärande
Publisher: Södertörns högskola, Lärarutbildningen
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:DiVA.org:sh-3398
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