AJEC Vol. 42 No. 1 – Between the big trees: A project-based approach to investigating shape and spatial thinking in a kindergarten program



Caroline Cohrssen
Ben de Quadros-Wander
Jane Page
Suzana Klarin
The University of Melbourne

Support for children’s emerging mathematical thinking is a characteristic of high-quality
early childhood education. Young children’s spatial thinking, an important component of
mathematical thinking, is both innate and influenced by experience. Since spatial thinking
contributes to children’s mathematical thinking, it is important for children to engage in
activities that support this learning. Early childhood educators are calling for guidance in
how to support children’s mathematical thinking in the context of an informal curriculum. In
this paper, we describe how a project-based approach to mathematics teaching and learning
provided a range of opportunities for children to investigate and rehearse understandings
of two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) shapes and spatial thinking within the context
of a project that was of ‘real world’ interest to the children. By intentionally embedding
multiple opportunities for children to explore shapes and spatial thinking in a sequence of
core learning experiences and complementary experiences, educators provided children with
opportunities to rehearse shape and spatial concepts and related language in differing ways.
Opportunities for formative assessment of children’s learning are also discussed.

SKU: AJEC1701_11 Category: