TY - JOUR

T1 - Mathematics in U.S. Preschool and Kindergarten Classrooms

AU - Mazzocco, Michèle M.

AU - Burchinal, Margaret R.

AU - Schulte, Ann C.

AU - Vandell, Deborah Lowe

AU - Sanabria, Ashley

AU - Hwang, Jin Kyoung

AU - Connor, Carol Mc Donald

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2024

PY - 2024/10/1

Y1 - 2024/10/1

N2 - To provide a landscape of mathematics activities children experience in U.S. preschool and kindergarten classrooms, we observed time children spent in mathematics activities (and — as a contrast — literacy) in 101 geographically diverse early childhood classrooms in seven U.S. states. We also observed what mathematics content, grouping strategies, and management formats teachers engaged during classroom mathematics activities. Each observation lasted approximately 2 hours; collectively these observations focused on 930 children observed one to three times during the 2018/2019 or 2019/2020 school year. Averaging across individuals’ data within classrooms, we found that mathematics and literacy activities comprised 5% and 45% of time observed in preschool classrooms, respectively; and 25% and 42% of time observed in kindergarten classrooms, respectively. At both grades, when mathematics activities occurred, they were proportionally more often teacher-led rather than child-led. These findings raise concerns about the paucity of mathematics and over-reliance on developmentally inappropriate teacher-managed mathematics instruction in early childhood classrooms, especially preschools. Amount of time in math did not vary by preschool auspice, but time in literacy and the proportion of math time devoted to specific math content did: In Head Start classrooms we observed lowest percentage of time in literacy (and the highest percentage of time in non-instruction) compared to all other auspices. Across auspices, numeracy was the predominant math content area overall, but especially in Head Start classrooms. Thus, some aspects of early mathematics may differ with program auspice, suggesting that recommendations to increase and improve early mathematics activities may need to consider auspice characteristics.

AB - To provide a landscape of mathematics activities children experience in U.S. preschool and kindergarten classrooms, we observed time children spent in mathematics activities (and — as a contrast — literacy) in 101 geographically diverse early childhood classrooms in seven U.S. states. We also observed what mathematics content, grouping strategies, and management formats teachers engaged during classroom mathematics activities. Each observation lasted approximately 2 hours; collectively these observations focused on 930 children observed one to three times during the 2018/2019 or 2019/2020 school year. Averaging across individuals’ data within classrooms, we found that mathematics and literacy activities comprised 5% and 45% of time observed in preschool classrooms, respectively; and 25% and 42% of time observed in kindergarten classrooms, respectively. At both grades, when mathematics activities occurred, they were proportionally more often teacher-led rather than child-led. These findings raise concerns about the paucity of mathematics and over-reliance on developmentally inappropriate teacher-managed mathematics instruction in early childhood classrooms, especially preschools. Amount of time in math did not vary by preschool auspice, but time in literacy and the proportion of math time devoted to specific math content did: In Head Start classrooms we observed lowest percentage of time in literacy (and the highest percentage of time in non-instruction) compared to all other auspices. Across auspices, numeracy was the predominant math content area overall, but especially in Head Start classrooms. Thus, some aspects of early mathematics may differ with program auspice, suggesting that recommendations to increase and improve early mathematics activities may need to consider auspice characteristics.

KW - Mathematics

KW - classroom observations

KW - kindergarten

KW - preschool

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85196754877&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85196754877&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecresq.2024.04.007

DO - 10.1016/j.ecresq.2024.04.007

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85196754877

SN - 0885-2006

VL - 69

SP - 25

EP - 37

JO - Early Childhood Research Quarterly

JF - Early Childhood Research Quarterly

ER -