Mathematics in play

Keijzer, R., Peltenburg, M., Van Schaik, M., Boland, A., & Van der Zalm, E. (2021). Mathematics in play. In M. Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, & A. Kullberg (Eds.), Proceedings of the ICME-14 Topic Study Group 1 Mathematics education at preschool level (pp. 51-59). Shanghai: ICME14.

This paper reports on a practice oriented research and developmental trajectory exploring children’s spontaneous play in the perspective of their mathematical development. The research question was: Which characteristics of the interaction between preschool/kindergarten teachers and preschoolers (2-6 years) are useful for stimulating young children’s language and mathematical development in the context of play? We found that three main consecutive characteristics of interaction as part of spontaneous play i.e., (a) observing, (b) connecting, and (c) enriching, can be mathematically deepened and interpreted in order to stimulate young children’s development in mathematics. Moreover, the study revealed that stimulating mathematical development in spontaneous play presumes professionals’ deep knowledge of young children’s mathematics, and that this knowledge helps professionals deciding on the form of child-professional interaction.