A Workable Problem: Constructing a 3-D Puzzle With Young Children With Disabilities

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Math is increasingly recognized as a critical part of what young children are exposed to and learn in early childhood programs. Geometry is one of three focal areas emphasized for early childhood, and opportunities for geometry learning are present in many manipulatives present in early childhood classrooms. Yet geometry remains an understudied part of the preschool curriculum, particularly as experienced by the young children with disabilities who are included in a growing number of early childhood programs. This qualitative study describes the knowledge and pedagogical thinking of 12 early childhood teachers as they planned for and taught a complex geometric puzzle to a child identified as having a disability. For all teachers, thinking reflected consideration of the interface between expectations, pedagogy, and child. However, not all teachers had a grasp of geometric features inherent in the puzzle, or of an equally broad range of pedagogical strategies for teaching them, indicating that continued consideration of teaching standards and teacher education for early math is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-342
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Disabilities
  • geometry
  • pedagogy
  • preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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