ERIC Number: EJ1010539
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 13
Early Childhood Mathematics Education: The Critical Issue Is Change
Hachey, Alyse C.
Early Education and Development, v24 n4 p443-445 2013
In this response to commentaries, the author states that she chose the term "revolution" because it comes from the Latin word "revolutio," which means "a turn around." Leading researchers in the early 20th century were advocating that young children were mathematically inept and that mathematics education was useless before elementary school (Thorndike, 1922). Today, a large body of developmental research advocates that young children are born mathematicians and that early childhood mathematics education (ECME) is vital (Cross, Woods, & Schweingruber, 2009; Geist, 2009). Comparing these stances, it is fair to say that it has indeed been turned around--a full 180 degrees, in fact. But Stipek's (2013) point is also correct. The rebirth of cognitive psychology in the 1960s, and the development of Head Start, with its purpose of giving disadvantaged children an academic leg up, saw the beginning of foundational research that focused on the mathematical capabilities (rather than the lack of mathematical aptitude) of young children. And with early childhood mathematics content now having grown to include five core knowledge areas and numerous thinking and behavior processes, what has been witnessed could be viewed as an evolution--as evolution comes from the Latin word "evolutio," meaning "unfolding or unrolling," and is usually conceived as the development of something from a simple to more complex form. The author states that, semantics aside, at the heart of both revolution and evolution is the idea of "change" for the better. She comments on Sophian's and Stipek's views on mathematical conceptual change in young children as well as on the major hurdles holding back substantial change in ECME teaching practice.
Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Mathematics Education, Educational Change, Intellectual History, Child Psychology, Educational Development, Educational Practices, Young Children, Educational Research, Educational Innovation, Cognitive Psychology, Educational History
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A