Early Childhood Corner: Geometrical Discoveries at a Portuguese Kindergarten

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  • 1 Mathematics and mathematics education at Escola de Educação do Porto, in Porto, Portugal
  • 2 Direcção Regional de Educação do Norte, Portugal
  • 3 University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

According to Baker, Schirner, and Hoffman (2006, p. 19), “scaffolding can occur when children and teachers converse about tasks and activities and engage in joint problem-solving situations.” We agree with them and believe that one main concern of kindergarten teachers should be to let children express their own thoughts in their own language, first orally and then in writing. When students express their own mathematical ideas using their own vocabulary and conceptions, they begin the foundation of mathematical understanding that is then supported and developed by the teacher through formal and informal conversations. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics states that “language is as important to learning mathematics as it is to learning to read” (NCTM 2000, p. 128), and it is this aspect of mathematical development that we focus on.

Footnotes

João Sampaio Maia is especially interested in informal learning of mathematics.

Conçeicão Menino is especially interested in the educational transition from kindergarten to the primary grades.

Instituto Superior de Ciências Educativas, Felgueiras, Portugal, and Instituto Superior da Maia, Maia, Portugal. Her research interest focuses, at the moment, on the learning of mathematics at the K–6 level.

Edited by Andrew M. Tyminski, atyminski@purdue.edu, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Purdue University, West Layfayette, IN 47907. “Early Childhood Corner” addresses the early childhood teacher's need to support young children's emerging mathematics understandings and skills in a context that conforms with current knowledge about the way that children in prekindergarten and kindergarten learn mathematics. Readers are encouraged to send submissions to this department by accessing tcm.msubmit.net. Manuscripts should not exceed eight double-spaced typed pages.

Teaching Children Mathematics

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