Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Early Childhood Programs

Arthur J. Baroody, Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides a rationale for early childhood mathematics instruction and recommendations for ensuring such instruction is effective, engaging, and holistic. It discusses how structured play, learning trajectories, and integrated instruction can be useful pedagogical tools in providing structured mathematical experiences that ensure educative experiences. High-quality professional development must instill positive attitudes toward mathematics as a discipline and productive dispositions toward the teaching and learning of mathematics. As R. Balfanz observed, the founding figures of early childhood education as Fredrick Froebel and Maria Montessori believed that young children enjoyed using mathematics to explore and understand the world around them and incorporated rich, structured mathematical experiences into their early childhood programs. The chapter addresses how teachers can promote educative experiences with careful guidance. It also addresses two key, interrelated issues in early childhood mathematics education: What is the place of mathematics instruction in today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms? How guided should the instruction of young children be?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook of Early Childhood Care and Education
EditorsChristopher P. Brown, Mary Benson McMullen, Nancy File
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781119148104
ISBN (Print)9781119148067
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Early childhood mathematics
  • Early childhood programs
  • Kindergarten classrooms
  • Learning trajectories
  • Mathematics instruction
  • Teaching methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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