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Math Play : growing and developing mathematics understanding in an emergent play-based environment

  • Author(s): DeGroot, Kendra
  • et al.
Abstract

This project explores how mathematics growth and development can be supported, documented and assessed in an emergent play-based early childhood education environment inspired by the practices and principles of Reggio Emilia. Using the California Preschool Learning Foundations as a framework, Math Play includes developmentally appropriate activities and environments that support cognitive development within the mathematics domain. This curriculum documents how a classroom's emergent themes were interwoven into activities and environments that did not oppose the practices and principles of the approach. Math Play successfully documented each child's mathematic understanding as well as areas needing further growth and development. With the California Preschool Learning Foundations as a framework, teachers can use Math Play to establish a child's level of understanding within this domain that plays one of important roles in assessing a child's school readiness. Math Play provides examples of how teachers can use authentic formative portfolios for assessment of growth and development. Math Play provides an alternative for standardized assessment in an emergent play-based environment that authenticates the experiences that preschool children are having while growing and developing in a Reggio Emilia inspired environment. After implementation of Math Play the following two findings were deduced : 1. Children engaged and demonstrated a range of mathematic growth and development that corresponds with the eighteen sub-strands of the California Preschool Learning Foundations. 2. Authentic formative portfolios provided an effective way to discuss individual child mathematic growth and development with assistant teachers and parents. In addition to these findings the children who were involved in this research continued to grow and develop by engaging in activities that furthered their mathematic foundation after Math Play implementation

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