Article

Taking Shape: Supporting Preschoolers’ Acquisition of Geometric Knowledge Through Guided Play

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Abstract

Shape knowledge, a key aspect of school readiness, is part of early mathematical learning. Variations in how children are exposed to shapes may affect the pace of their learning and the nature of their shape knowledge. Building on evidence suggesting that child-centered, playful learning programs facilitate learning more than other methods, four to five-year-old children were taught the properties of four geometric shapes using guided play, free play, or didactic instruction. Results revealed that children taught shapes in the guided play condition showed improved shape knowledge compared to the other groups, an effect that was still evident after one week. Findings suggest that scaffolding techniques that heighten engagement, direct exploration, and facilitate ‘sense-making,’ such as guided play, undergird shape learning.

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... Children can investigate the underlying reasons for stability and therefore acquire stability knowledge through their everyday play, e.g., when they play with building blocks (Borriello & Liben, 2018;. Thus, developmentally appropriate practice, e.g., block play, might offer experiences that allow children to maintain their positive block building self-concepts and at the same time foster their stability knowledge (Copple & Bredenkamp, 2009;Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, & Golinkoff, 2013;Trawick-Smith, 2012;Zosh et al., 2018). ...
... Play as a developmentally appropriate practice is considered voluntary, intrinsically motivating, child-directed, process-rather than goal-oriented, and as containing elements of choice (Pellegrini, 2013;Rubin, Fein, & Vandenberg, 1983;Trawick-Smith, 2012). Some researchers conceive play as a category (Pellegrini, 2013), while others consider play a continuum in which the above aspects might be realized to a greater or lesser extent (e.g., Borriello & Liben, 2018;Fisher et al., 2013;Rubin et al., 1983). Pellegrini (2013) claims that certain types of play such as block play should not be considered play because construction is goal-oriented and not mainly concerned with the process. ...
... Concerning the adult's role in guided play, an adult's scaffolding might maintain children's motivational and competence beliefs (Guthrie, Wigfield, & Perencevich, 2004;Samarapungavan et al., 2011) and may help children master challenging tasks and acquire new insights (Fisher et al., 2013;van de Pol, Volman, & Beishuizen, 2010;Weisberg, Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Kittredge, & Klahr, 2016). Based on the idea of scaffolding as an effective way of support, we focus on two elements: (a) material scaffolds, e.g., in the form of structured learning materials such as photographs of block constructions that children can rebuild, and (b) scaffolding through verbal support (Guthrie et al., 2004;Martin, Dornfeld Tissenbaum, Gnesdilow, & Puntambekar, 2019;van de Pol et al., 2010). ...
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The study investigated preschool children's block building self-concepts in relation to their stability knowledge acquisition as implied by the reciprocal effects model and possible effects of different forms of play. We investigated three types of construction play: (a) guided play with verbal and material scaffolds, (b) guided play with material scaffolds, and (c) free play. We examined the effects of the different play forms on block building self-concept and stability knowledge acquisition as well as the reciprocal effects model's fit to preschool children. We implemented a pre-post-follow-up design, N = 183 German 5-to 6-year-olds (88 female). Block building self-concept declined in the free play group, but not in the guided play groups. Both guided play groups out-performed the free play group in stability knowledge acquisition. The reciprocal effects model was not supported. Guided play may be effective in fostering children's block building self-concepts and stability knowledge.
... Reading and arithmetic are difficult cognitive feats for children to master and youth from low-income communities are often less "school ready" in terms of letter and number recognition skills (Lee and Burkam, 2002). One way to prepare children for school is by encouraging caregivers to engage children in conversations about academically-relevant concepts by using numbers, recognizing shapes, and naming colors (Levine et al., 2010;Fisher et al., 2013). Previous research shows that caregiver-child conversations about these topics rarely take place in everyday contexts (Hassinger-Das et al., 2018), but interventions designed to encourage such conversations, like displaying signs in a grocery store, have resulted in significant increases in caregiver-child conversations (Ridge et al., 2015;Hanner et al., 2019). ...
... Despite the importance of integrating number, color and shape talk into conversations with children, there is wide variation in how much of the conversation between caregivers and children consist of these crucial topics (Levine et al., 2010;Gunderson and Levine, 2011;Pruden et al., 2011;Fisher et al., 2013;Resnick et al., 2016). There is growing evidence that children from lower-income families lag behind their peers from mid-and high-socioeconomic status (SES) families in terms of mathematical knowledge and that there is wide variability in the amount of caregiver-child math talk in their informal learning environments (Starkey et al., 2004;Ramani et al., 2015;Son and Hur, 2020). ...
... Can you find something green?" The questions on these signs were adapted from the literature on the strong positive association between math and spatial talk and children's academic outcomes (Levine et al., 2010;Gunderson and Levine, 2011;Fisher et al., 2013;Verdine et al., 2014a;Resnick et al., 2016). The second category of signs, non-academicallyrelevant signs, asked simple factual questions with one-word answers, or consisted of pronouncements which are broad statements that informed caregivers about the benefits of talking to their children. ...
Article
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Reading and arithmetic are difficult cognitive feats for children to master and youth from low-income communities are often less “school ready” in terms of letter and number recognition skills (Lee and Burkam, 2002). One way to prepare children for school is by encouraging caregivers to engage children in conversations about academically-relevant concepts by using numbers, recognizing shapes, and naming colors (Levine et al., 2010; Fisher et al., 2013). Previous research shows that caregiver-child conversations about these topics rarely take place in everyday contexts (Hassinger-Das et al., 2018), but interventions designed to encourage such conversations, like displaying signs in a grocery store, have resulted in significant increases in caregiver-child conversations (Ridge et al., 2015; Hanner et al., 2019). We investigated whether a similar brief intervention could change caregiver-child conversations in an everyday context. We observed 212 families in a volunteer-run facility where people who are food-insecure can select food from available donations. Volunteers greet all the clients as they pass through the aisles, offer food, and restock the shelves as needed. About 25% of the clients have children with them and our data consist of observations of the caregiver-child conversations with 2- to 10-year-old children. Half of the observation days consisted of a baseline condition in which the quantity and quality of caregiver-child conversation was observed as the client went through aisles where no signs were displayed, and volunteers merely greeted the clients. The other half of the observation days consisted of a brief intervention where signs were displayed (signs-up condition), where, volunteers greeted the clients and pointed out that there were signs displayed to entertain the children if they were interested. In addition, there was a within-subject manipulation for the intervention condition where each family interacted with two different categories of signs. Half of the signs had academically-relevant content and the other half had non-academically-relevant content. The results demonstrate that the brief intervention used in the signs-up condition increases the quantity of conversation between a caregiver and child. In addition, signs with academically-relevant content increases the quality of the conversation. These findings provide further evidence that brief interventions in an everyday context can change the caregiver-child conversation. Specifically, signs with academically-relevant content may promote school readiness.
... Cognitive underpinnings of geometry Learning experiences lead pupils to further their geometrical learning through the progressive acquisition of procedural and conceptual knowledge (Clements & Battista, 1992;Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, & Golinkoff, 2013;Piaget & Inhelder, 1967). Many authors highlighted the combined role of domain-specific and domain-general abilities in predicting academic achievement (see Caviola, Mammarella, Lucangeli, & Cornoldi, 2014;Fuchs, Geary, Fuchs, Compton, & Hamlett, 2016). ...
... The declarative knowledge of the appropriate vocabulary is understandably implicated in geometry that, on the surface, appears less language based (Spelke & Tsivkin, 2001;Vukovic & Lesaux, 2013). Children in primary schools are required to learn names and properties of a wide range of two-and three-dimensional shapes and figures (Fisher et al., 2013;Mammarella, Todeschini, Englaro, Lucangeli, & Cornoldi, 2012;van Hiele, 1986) and an adequate knowledge of the basic concepts and terms is therefore needed in the acquisition of complex geometrical concepts (Bizzaro et al., 2018;Swindal, 2000). Furthermore, as geometry is strictly connected to data manipulation and measurement, a second set of domain-specific abilities is represented by calculation skills (Mammarella, Giofr e, & Caviola, 2017), required, for example, to calculate perimeters and area of geometric figures. ...
... There is an open debate involving educators and researchers on how curriculum contents should be taught to the primary school children (Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, & Golinkoff, 2012). However, there is some evidence suggesting that child-centred and playful learning programmes, could promote sustained academic performance, as compared to more traditional, academically focused programmes (Diamond, Barnett, Thomas, & Munro, 2007;Fisher et al., 2013) and CSA teaching sequences for geometry, requiring the active manipulation of geometric figures, are becoming popular in primary schools of Italy and of many other countries. To examine factors underlying the acquisition of a new geometrical concept after an instruction session common to all the classes involved in the study, we decided that the teaching session included CSA. ...
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It has been suggested that not only domain‐specific factors but also working memory (WM) may play a crucial role in mathematical learning included Geometry, but the issue has not been deeply explored. In the present study, we examined the role of domain‐specific factors and of verbal versus visuospatial WM on geometric learning of a new geometrical figure (trapezoid), never presented previously by the teachers participating to the study, after a lecture also involving manipulatives. Results on 105 children in their Year 4 indicated that not only some domain‐specific components (geometric declarative knowledge and calculation) but also visuospatial working memory had a significant specific impact on the ability of solving geometric problems requiring to calculate the perimeter and the area of the new figure. On the contrary, verbal WM and geometrical mental imagery did not offer a specific contribution. These findings could have important educational implications, stressing the importance of taking into account the main different aspects supporting the acquisition of geometry.
... In research on playful learning, for instance, teacher involvement has been conceptualized along a continuum from free, fully child-directed play to didactic teaching, with degrees of guidance in between (Fisher et al., 2010;Pyle & Danniels, 2017). Evidence suggests that guided play-in which adults provide guidance via co-play and questions while allowing children to explore and take initiative-can best support learning (Fisher et al., 2013;Weisberg et al., 2016). Research on autonomy-supportive teaching also supports the idea that sharing control within learning activities can support student outcomes. ...
... Perhaps instruction that is about 60-70% child-initiated is optimal for 4-year-olds from this population, and school readiness would have dipped in classrooms that tended to spend over 70% of time on child-initiated activities. This would be consistent with evidence that both child-and teacher-directed elements can support young children's learning, and a blend of child and teacher control over the learning process can be optimal (Fisher et al., 2010(Fisher et al., , 2013Graue et al., 2004). It is also possible, however, that increasing the child-initiated focus in a preschool classroom past a certain point yields little added benefit for 4-year-olds' learning. ...
... Furthermore, implicitly requiring teachers to classify all activities as either teacher-directed or child-initiated may have obscured important nuances. As noted at the outset, child-and teacher-directed elements can be combined within the same activity by providing scaffolding (teacher-direction) within otherwise open-ended (child-initiated) learning contexts (Fisher et al., 2010(Fisher et al., , 2013Weisberg et al., 2013). It would be interesting to know how teachers in the present study classified such activities-which were not clearly child-or teacherdirected but did involve children and teachers sharing control. ...
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Although research suggests that the use of child-initiated vs. teacher-directed instructional practices in early childhood education has implications for learning and development, the precise nature of these effects remains unclear. Using data from the Midwest Child-Parent Center (CPC) Expansion Project, the present study examined the possibility that a blend of child- and teacher-directed practices best promotes school readiness among preschoolers experiencing high levels of sociodemographic risk and explored whether the optimal blend varies based on child characteristics. Sixty-two CPC preschool teachers reported their instructional practices throughout the year, using a newly developed questionnaire—the Classroom Activity Report (CAR). The average reported proportion of child-initiated instruction was examined in relation to students’ end-of-year performance on a routine school readiness assessment (N = 1289). Although there was no main effect of child-initiated instruction on school readiness, there was a significant interaction between instruction and student age. Four-year-olds’ school readiness generally improved as the proportion of child-initiated time increased, while 3-year-olds showed a U-shaped pattern. The present findings add to the evidence that child-initiated instruction might support preschoolers’ school readiness, although they also suggest this relation may not always be linear. They also point to the importance of examining instructional strategies in relation to student characteristics, in order to tailor strategies to the student population. The CAR has potential as a brief, practical measurement tool that can support program monitoring and professional development.
... Researchers have uncovered connections between different types of play and the development of children's self-regulation, social and emotional skills, and academic learning (Fisher et al., 2013;Nicolopoulou et al., 2015). Play serves as an engaging context where children practice a range of cognitive skills through active exploration and negotiating with others, including problem-solving, critical thinking, flexibility, and self-control (Bodrova et al., 2013;McInnes et al., 2009). ...
... Enactors also incorporated visual supports including timers and schedules in play, which can pose benefits for children's on-task behaviour and self-regulation abilities (Macdonald et al., 2018). Lastly, enactors endorsed the role of active teacher support in play, both as a guide on the side and as an active partner to support children's learning, which has been connected to improvements in children's academic and social learning (Fisher et al., 2013;Nicolopoulou et al., 2015). Kathryn's specific approach of imitating, vocalizing, and modelling play actions echoes recommendations made by empirically supported play programs such as the Integrated Play Groups Model (Wolfberg et al., 2012). ...
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Policies related to the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms have led to questions regarding how teachers can help cultivate inclusive learning communities where all children are supported and valued. In play-based kindergarten programs, teachers are tasked with ensuring goals for children’s learning and development are cultivated in play. However, debates persist regarding the optimal role of the teacher in play and how to meaningfully support the play of children with disabilities. The current multiple case study explored the perspectives and approaches of three kindergarten teachers who highly valued, and strived to enable, participation and inclusion in play-based learning, referred to here as enactors. A minimum of three hours of observation were conducted in each classroom in the fall, and semi-structured teacher interviews were conducted in the fall and spring of the school year. Enactors shared some common themes related to implementing play-based learning to promote inclusion, including a balance of child agency and teacher guidance, involvement that is child-centred and flexible, and the importance of supporting social interactions in play. These views informed both common and unique practices observed in play, including one-on-one conversations, supporting small groups, becoming an active play partner, and collaboratively addressing problems that arose in play. These results illustrate ways enactors gave meaning to the concept of inclusion through their play practices, providing salient examples of play alongside teachers’ craft knowledge to help support inclusive play-based learning practices going forward.
... Digitālais mācību līdzeklis veidots kā spēle. Pētījumu dati liecina, ka mācību līdzekļi, kuru pamatā ir spēles darbība, ir orientēti uz bērnu un veicina vispusīgu attīstību un ilgtspējīgu akadēmisko sekmību (Fisher et al., 2013). Spēle ir bērna attīstības avots un veido tuvākās attīstības zonu (Alekso, 2011). ...
... Spēle ir bērna attīstības avots un veido tuvākās attīstības zonu (Alekso, 2011). Skolotājs šādā kontekstā ir sadarbības partneris, kurš veido mainīgu, orientētu uz bērna interesēm pieredzi, atbalsta bērna dabisko zinātkāri, aktīvu līdzdalību rotaļā, komentē atklājumus, tā stimulējot "izpratnes" procesus (Fisher et al., 2013). Tieši tāpēc visi uzdevumi, kas iestrādāti digitālajā mācību līdzeklī, ir veidoti spēles veidā, pielietojot pārskatāmus vizuālos materiālus un animācijas efektus. ...
Article
Children with mixed developmental disorders have impaired spatial perception. When performing correction work with these children, it is necessary to look for the most effective means to achieve the maximum developmental result. The use of various non-traditional methods and techniques in teaching eliminates children's fatigue, stimulates their cognitive activity, allows optimizing the pedagogical process, individualizes teaching and significantly improves the effectiveness of pedagogical work in general. One of the ways is digital teaching aids that are systematically and purposefully integrated into correction work.The aim of the paper is to theoretically substantiate the adequacy of the digital teaching aid developed by I. Zulbina for the formation of spatial awareness for children with mixed developmental disorders in preschool.
... Students will be asked to analyze the properties of polygons and identify regular polygon and irregular polygons. Several studies show that there are still difficulties faced by primary school students when learning about the polygon concept (Bernabeu et al., 2018;Chiphambo & Feza, 2020;Fisher et al., 2013). Primary school students need scaffolding that facilitates them to learn about polygon. ...
... Primary school students need scaffolding that facilitates them to learn about polygon. This technique can increase student involvement, focus students' attention and exploration, and encourage students' "sense-making" (Alfieri et al., 2011;Fisher et al., 2013;Honomichl & Chen, 2012). Because geometry, especially polygons, is all around us, PMRI and collaborative methods are expected to help improve student understanding. ...
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Collaborative learning through lesson study has become one of the promising methods for improving the quality of education and improving teachers' quality, likewise with the PMRI approach. The combination of the two in the training for primary school pre-service teachers, specifically in the second simulation session, was observed and reported. This article aims to describe the collaboration process in the second session of the simulations about polygon learning at PMRI training for primary school pre-service teachers. A design research method of the development type was used in this study, only at the preliminary and development or prototyping phase. The research subjects are students of Primary School Pre-service Teachers of Sriwijaya University that consisted of eight students for the small group and 32 students for the field test. Data was collected through documentation, observation, and field notes. The result showed that there were good collaboration occurs between researcher-lecturer, lecturer-student, and between students at the plan-do-see-redesign stage of the lesson study.
... Although the quantity of words produced is an important component of children's language development (Hart & Risley, 1995), investigating language quality has been crucial to better understand the extent to which parents' language production relates with children's later literacy skills (Beals & Tabors, 1993;Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2015;Rowe, 2012;Weizman & Snow, 2001), math abilities (Fisher et al., 2013;Levine et al., 2010), executive functioning (EF; Distefano et al., 2018), and neural language processing (Romeo et al., 2018). For instance, Romeo et al., (2018) recorded home language interactions between 4-to 6-year-old children and their parents. ...
... Prior spatial language studies have looked at the diversity of spatial language as a measure of language quality (Casasola et al., 2020;Polinsky et al., 2017;Pruden et al., 2011). However, domain-general language research suggests that additional measures of spatial language quality are necessary to paint a more complete picture of the role that spatial language might play in the development of children's spatial thinking (Fisher et al., 2013;Levine et al., 2010;Rowe et al., 2012). In the present study, we investigated the relations between parents and children production of prosocial and negative talk and their own production of spatial language. ...
Preprint
We investigated the extent to which variability in parent and child prosocial talk and negative talk relates to the quantity and diversity of their spatial language production. Participants included 51 four- to seven-year-old children and their parents. Most of the dyads included mothers and were Hispanic and bilingual. Dyads constructed a Lego house for 10 minutes. Sessions were transcribed and coded for instances of parent prosocial talk (praises, reflective statements, and behavior descriptions), child prosocial talk (all positive contributions to the interaction), and parent and child negative talk (criticisms and disapprovals) using the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System. Transcripts were also coded for quantity and diversity of spatial language including shape terms (e.g., square), dimensional adjectives (e.g., little), orientations (e.g., turn), patterns (e.g., pattern), deictics (e.g., there), locations (e.g., middle), spatial features/properties (e.g., edge), and continuous amounts (e.g., space). Parent prosocial talk, but not negative talk, was significantly associated with the quantity and diversity of parent spatial language production and child prosocial talk, but not negative talk, was significantly associated with the quantity of child spatial language. Exploratory analyses also revealed significant associations between parent and child ‘what’ spatial types and tokens. Findings suggest that variability in parent-child prosocial and spatial talk during collaborative spatial play relates to aspects of their own, and each other’s spatial language production.
... Hence, mutual play could constitute a learning opportunity without intended pedagogical engagement. Along the dimension of the teacher's pedagogical engagement, Fisher et al. (2013) compared free play, guided play, and didactic instruction with respect to preschoolers' learning. In a confirmative experiment, with one child at a time, they found guided play to be the most and free play the least effective with respect to the children's learning outcomes. ...
... With respect to the mathematical content of the game and the teacher's interventions, the children's play was guided (Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2014;Edwards & Cutter-Mackenzie, 2011). Another aspect of the guided play was the children's teamwork, which is in contrast to several studies conducted with individuals, the typical approach to research on learning outcomes (e.g., Battista et al., 1998;Bertelli et al., 1998;English, 1991;Fisher et al., 2013;Fox, 2005;Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011;Shiakalli, 2014). The children in Alligators (the youngest group) worked as a team; as one child arranged the pattern of the cars, another child counted and identified the number of cars, and a third child identified the number symbol and where to put the flash card. ...
Article
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In preschool, numbers and shapes typically appear as separate topics. This study explores how a game, designed as a guided play activity with figurate numbers, functions in a preschool context. The guided play involved parking Lego cars in a rectangular shape, and to find out for which number of Lego cars this is possible. Thirteen preschool children in three separate age groups, aged from four to six years, together with their teacher, participated in the study. Their communications through words and actions were recorded. The results exemplify how this guided play provides a rich context for engaging young children with mathematical activities such as counting, sorting, shaping, asking, justifying, and inferring, as well as emotional engagement with the activity.
... L'activité de jeu forme, quant à elle, une catégorie hétérogène compte tenu des différents types de jeux (sensorimoteurs, fonctionnels, symboliques, etc.) et du degré de participation de l'adulte même si les jeux sont considérés comme des situations peu contraignantes car les locuteurs peuvent disposer d'une certaine liberté au niveau des formes et des usages du langage (de Weck, 2003). Néanmoins, les jeux guidés, dans lesquels l'adulte soutient l'enfant à des fins d'apprentissage, engagent davantage le premier dans l'activité et dans les interactions que les jeux libres (Fisher et al., 2013). Bien que l'enfant soit libre de jouer et d'interagir comme il l'entend, l'adulte prépare la situation et y participe, focalisant l'attention de l'enfant sur les éléments du jeu, à la différence du jeu libre qui est davantage pris en charge par l'enfant lui-même. ...
... Pour résumer nos résultats, il y a peu d'éléments conversationnels dans le jeu au profit d'une certaine directivité des échanges de la part de l'adulte, à la différence de Girolametto, Weitzman et collègues (2000) et Rhyner et collègues (2013). Toutefois, leurs études portent sur des jeux guidés et non des jeux libres dans lesquels la participation moindre des adultes induit un engagement dans les échanges moins élevé chez les enfants (Fisher et al., 2013). ...
Article
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L’article vise à décrire les conduites langagières d’adultes et d’enfants (2 ans ½ environ) dans le cadre de deux activités filmées en crèche. En comparant une activité de lecture partagée et une activité de jeu libre, nous montrons que des différences apparaissent au niveau des aspects structurels (LME, types d’énoncés) et fonctionnels (partage de l’espace discursif, positions, mouvements dialogiques, types de discours) dans les interventions des locuteurs selon la situation. Ainsi, l’adulte et les enfants impliqués dans la lecture partagée adoptent des conduites centrées sur la production, la compréhension et la co-construction du discours. Dans le jeu libre, les enfants et l’adulte sont peu engagés dans les échanges au profit d’une implication dans la régulation de l’activité. Ces différences conduisent à réfléchir à la diversité des usages langagiers en crèche et à l’importance de décrire ces contextes pour l’étude des modes de transmission du langage en dehors du cadre familial.
... It is important to understand which exhibit designs provide children with optimal opportunities for engagement as science centers and children's museums seek to design exhibits that leverage engagement to effectively encourage transfer of knowledge from museums to other settings. Specifically, research that differentiates between exhibit forms, functions, and play structures, and in different environments (i.e., indoors versus outdoors) can provide valuable information on the facets of exhibit design that promote better engagement (Bustamante et al., 2019;Degotardi et al., 2019;Fisher et al., 2013). These exhibit design categories were specifically used by science center staff in the design of the two play-centered exhibits observed in the current study. ...
... Free play has traditionally been recognized as optimal for promoting child engagement and social interaction with peers, but scaffolded play may translate to deeper learning (Dean & Kuhn, 2007;Legare et al., 2017). Guided play facilitates children's flexible, interest-driven experiences by encouraging their natural curiosity, active engagement, and "sense-making" processes (Fisher et al., 2013;Weisberg et al., 2016). Finally, directed play refers to structured, instruction-based activities with clear learning objectives (Zosh et al., 2018). ...
... It seems that more dialog is needed between educators and parents concerning the nature of the program and the value of play and its influence on children's learning (Sollars, 2017). Although play-based learning was viewed by some parents as being unstructured and less academic than explicit instruction; play-based learning has been shown to be as or more effective than traditional direct-instruction for achieving literacy, numeracy, and socioemotional early learning classroom goals (Fisher et al., 2013, Stipek et al., 1998, Weisberg et al., 2013. Further studies have suggested that some parents only value play if it does not interfere with learning academic skills (Baker, 2014, Kane, 2016, Yahya, 2016. ...
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Pan-Canadian efforts to support universal access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) for families are underway. Focusing on a universally available ECEC program in Nova Scotia, this study explored the impact of the perceived value of this publicly funded ECEC program on parental decisions for enrollment. A thematic analysis of data from focus groups and interviews ( n = 42 families represented) from two separate, but related studies, revealed themes (Ease of access, Communication, Supporting familiarity with school and Early learning) which provide insight on the value that parents place on a universal ECEC program and may help to inform other jurisdictions.
... There are debates in the literature about what kind of play gives the best learning benefit: is it free play or guided play? (Ferrara, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, Golinkoff, & Lam, 2011;Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, & Golinkoff, 2013;. The structural alignment lens can predict differential learning outcomes from different types of play. ...
Article
Play is an essential component of childhood, but parents and educators sometimes view it as an optional add-on, which gets in the way of learning. This view persists in spite of evidence that play is helpful and sometimes critical to learning in multiple domains, perhaps because precise mechanisms whereby play occasions learning are not well understood. Here, I propose a new research perspective on playful learning, which might fill this gap, and solidify our understanding of both play and learning: a focus on comparison and structural alignment. Comparison (and structural alignment, which highlights useful comparisons) is a well-studied learning mechanism, and it occurs often during free and guided play. Do we learn through play because we compare during play? I briefly summarize the learning benefits of comparison and sketch the ways in which play may trigger comparison. I then list several concrete research questions, through which we may inspect the role of comparison in mediating between play and learning.
... Teachers must understand how mathematics facilitates the involvement of young children in play and how best they can support this learning [14]. Early childhood lessons through play can demonstrate a greater understanding of geometry than classroom instruction [15]. Designing mathematics learning activities for early childhood must be planned properly so that no negative impact in the future. ...
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Geometry concepts are essential to teaching in early childhood. Engaging early childhood in geometric thinking and spatial reasoning can support their overall mathematical and cognitive development. Preparing the mathematics learning process in early childhood, especially the concept of geometry, requires careful planning by paying attention to various aspects both from the psychological side of students and in terms of mathematics content. Early childhood education teachers must have the skills to plan math activities. The research objective was to see the ability of prospective early childhood education teachers to do math activities. The research method used is phenomenology, which examines the experiences of pre-service early childhood education teachers after attending the “Mathematics and Cognitive Development” lecture. The research results were obtained when designing the learning process of pre-service early childhood education teachers by paying attention to the aspects of providing meaningful experiences through games in introducing the concept of geometry.
... Research supports the benefits of active learning-where children are focused and engaged in the learning process through questioning and reflection-over passive learning where students memorize information (Chi 2009). When they are actively involved in the learning process, children can build spatial skills (Bower et al. 2020) and learn properties of shapes (Fisher et al. 2013) and new words (Han et al. 2010). (ii) Engaging. ...
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Playful Learning Landscapes (PLL) has become a viable, evidence-based approach for addressing inequity in learning by merging architectural design and placemaking with the science of learning. PLL embeds learning opportunities in places where families regularly go (e.g., bus stops, supermarkets, and laundromats) and transforms them into engaging and enriched learning hubs. Learning outside the classroom in museums, libraries, and with digital media has been growing in importance and was further accentuated due to the coronavirus disease. As a result, the role of families and the community has been elevated as a critical component of education. To address gaps in school readiness and achievement, policy makers have largely focused on formal learning environments. But these efforts neither address nor harness the 80% of time young children spend outside of the classroom with their families. PLL fills this gap and offers one way of harnessing innovation to help reduce education inequality and promote individual and community development—all key factors for an effective learning society.
... For example, in a classroom setting, teachers can observe children during free play and encourage them to learn specific skills or obtain specific outcomes in the setting. This can be seen in a study in which 4-and 5-year-old children were given an array of geometric shapes (rectangles, triangles, pentagons, and hexagons) in one of three conditions: Didactic Instruction, in which an adult described to children each of the shapes and explored the shapes (discovering the shapes' "secret," for instance, rectangles have four sides); Free-Play, in which children played with the materials in any way they wished; and Guided Play, in which an adult described the shapes in the same way as in the Didactic Instruction condition but encouraged children to explore and discover the shapes' secret (Fisher et al., 2013). When children were later asked to sort shapes (for example, sort the rectangles together), those in the Guided-Play condition performed best and children the Free-Play condition performed worst, with performance of children in the Didactic-Instruction in-between the two. ...
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In this article I examine children’s evolved learning mechanisms that make humans the most educable of animals. These include: (1) skeletal perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that get fleshed out over the course of development, mainly through play; (2) a high level of plasticity that is greatest early in life but that persists into adulthood; (3) remarkable social-learning capabilities; and (4) dispositions toward exploration and play. I next examine some evolutionary mismatches – conflicts between psychological mechanisms evolved in ancient environments and their utility in modern ones – specifically with respect to modern educational systems. I then suggest some ways educators can take advantage of children’s evolved learning abilities to minimize the effects of evolutionary mismatches, including: (1) following developmentally appropriate practices (which are also evolutionarily appropriate practices); (2) increasing opportunities for physical activities; (3) increasing opportunities to learn through play; and (4) taking advantage of stress-adapted children’s “hidden talents.” I argue that evolutionary theory informs teachers and parents about how children evolved to learn and can result in more-enlightened teaching methods that will result in a more enjoyable and successful learning experiences for children. Key Terms: plasticity; social learning; exploration; play; evolutionary mismatches; developmentally appropriate practice
... that it is meaningful, iterative, active and joyful, Parker & Thomsen, 2019) can be harnessed to meet learning objectives in more structured activities such as inquiries and 'guided play' (Skene et al., 20022;Weisberg et al., 2013). For example, in one study young children learned about the properties of geometric shapes through one-to-one sessions with a researcher framed as a game, where the children had to discover the 'secret' of each shape (Fisher et al., 2013). They had the opportunity to explore the shapes to uncover the 'secrets', but were also guided by categorised exemplars, questioning from the adult, encouragements to manipulate the shapes, and an activity to apply their new knowledge. ...
Thesis
Children are born naturally curious and eager to learn, but as they go through school this inner motivation to learn diminishes. Yet children’s inner motivation to learn is essential to deep learning, positive attitudes to school and wellbeing. Self-Determination Theory suggests that supporting children’s need for autonomy – that is to say the feeling that actions stem from internal sources rather than being imposed externally – is essential to supporting inner motivational resources. This thesis is concerned with how teachers may be able to support children’s autonomy and inner motivation in the early Primary classroom in England and how we may be able to capture changes in children’s inner motivation in those settings. It is divided into two parts. In Part I, I used interpretive methods to understand teachers’ attempts to provide greater opportunities for children’s autonomy in Year 1 classrooms through a professional development programme. This programme was developed by a team of researchers at the PEDAL centre using a Community of Practice model and involved nine teachers in trying out strategies to support children’s autonomy. Through stories of change, I show that teachers’ use and interpretations of the strategies varied, and this was affected by the teachers’ school context and their own beliefs. Through thematic analysis, I show that the classrooms in the study functioned as ecosystems of teacher control, which was itself under pressure from top-down directions through governmental policies and institutions as well as senior leaders. This resulted in a teaching mindset focused on strict learning objectives which left little space for children to take ownership of their learning. Despite this, teachers were sometimes able to provide pockets of space for children’s autonomy, though these took diverse forms. The extent of these spaces for autonomy depended on individual school and classroom contexts. The proposed model – pockets of space within an ecosystem of teacher control – explains the tensions between teachers’ need for control in the classroom and opportunities for children’s autonomy, as well as areas where teachers’ attempts to increase children’s autonomy were successful. In particular, I show that teachers needed to provide support and stimulation as well as space in order to support both autonomy and inner motivation. Part II is concerned with measuring inner motivation for research purposes and in particular for future evaluations of the above professional development programme. This research focuses on the validity and reliability of an existing instrument, the Leuven Involvement Scale (LIS). This instrument aims to capture a form of engagement in learning activities that is related to inner motivation. The studies in Part II investigate the reliability and stability of the instrument, as well as factors associated with variation in engagement using multilevel modelling. I found that the LIS can be reliable as long as raters share a common understanding of different child behaviours in the classroom. In addition, I found that engagement varied hugely from one moment to the next, with very little variation between children. What little variation existed between children was explained by the association between engagement and aspects of children’s self-regulatory capacities, namely effortful control and negative emotions, measured through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and Child Behaviour Questionnaire (CBQ). However, overall this research suggests that it is the individual moment that matters, rather than characteristics of the children. To better understand the influence of contextual factors, I investigated the association of activity setting (whether children are in teacher-directed, independent or free choice situations) with engagement. Children were significantly more engaged in free choice settings compared to whole class teacher-directed settings. However, there was a large amount of remaining variation and I discuss the implications this has for the role of teachers in supporting children’s engagement. Overall, this thesis makes a contribution towards our understanding of children’s autonomy and inner motivation in the classroom and teaching practices that support it, as well as how we may be able to study it in classroom contexts.
... For example, some lab and classroom studies have shown that drawing students' attention to situational uncertainty piques their curiosity (e.g. Fisher et al., 2013;Markey & Loewenstein, 2014;Weisberg et al., 2016). In addition, many ways of increasing uncertainty, such as decreasing the obviousness of a correct choice, increasing the number of possible options, or making outcomes unknown, have all been shown to increase people's curiosity (e.g. ...
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While many view learning as a process of reducing learners’ uncertainty, research suggests that instruction that is uncertain can promote learning and transfer better than instruction that is certain. In addition, research on curiosity suggests that uncertainty is a key trigger of curiosity, which in turn can facilitate learning. However, educational research rarely examines the direct effects of uncertainty on curiosity, learning, or transfer. Additionally, research on the effect of curiosity on learning rarely considers state-level curiosity or how curiosity changes over time. In a study with 208 middle school students learning physics, we addressed these gaps. Participants in two conditions completed learning activities where they invented their own equations for physical science phenomena. The Low Uncertainty condition received relevant information on task process before inventing, while information on task process was withheld in the High Uncertainty (HU) condition, which received irrelevant information before inventing. Both conditions learned the physics content equally well, but the HU condition demonstrated greater state-level curiosity and performed better on transfer problems. Moreover, in both conditions, curiosity decreased over time as students gained more information. Surprisingly, curiosity did not predict learning or transfer, which suggests that curiosity was not the mechanism by which uncertainty influenced transfer. This study advances the notion that introducing uncertainty in learning activities can, perhaps counter-intuitively, promote transfer of knowledge across contexts while also rousing learners’ curiosity. This work demonstrates a practical way for educators to induce uncertainty, by withholding information about task process. This research also broadens our understanding of how to provoke curiosity in classroom contexts.
... It has two 34,35 fundamental concepts. That is, focus on educating the students and then assessing to comprehend the transfer of knowledge/education; and "backwards" 36 designed curriculum. Two basic sources direct the convergence of evidence of the context; the modern research theoretical domain of cognitive psychology; and the outcomes of students' accomplishment in 37,38 learning. ...
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Objective: To determine the effect of play-based learning on developing logical reasoning in early childhood education in Islamabad. Study Design:Quantitative quasi-experimental study and the pre-and post-experimental paradigm was used. Place and Duration of Study: The population of the current study included the students from Headstart School located in Islamabad from March 2020 to September 2020. Materials and Methods: The population was selected through cluster sampling technique. Sample size of 80 students with 40 each of control and experimental group were considered le. Both the groups were taught a course 'classification of vertebrates' in Science either through play-based (experimental group) or conventional method (controlled group) in a 45 minutes session, 5 days for four weeks. A pictorial self-developed test consisted of 6 questions based on understanding by design (UbD was used. Descriptive (percentage and frequency) and inferential statistics were used for the analysis of data. Results: The control condition (Pre & Post) for the logical development and experimental condition (Pre & Post) was positively correlated. No effect of gender by the play-based learning in developing logical reasoning among students was found in both the control and experimental group at early childhood education. Conclusion: The relationship between experimental and control conditions for the logical development by using play-based learning was significant. The play-based activities based on the curriculum should be designed to ensure meaningful learning and long-term knowledge retention in children as it ensures a child's interest and fun factor. Key Words: Experimental Design, Logical Reasoning, Play-Based Learning.
... Verbal scaffolding aims at dynamically extending and complementing the guidance embedded in the materials (Martin et al., 2019) and has been found to be effective for science learning in kindergarten (e.g. Fisher et al., 2013;Weber et al., 2020) and for primary school students (e.g., Leuchter & Naber, 2018). The kindergarten teacher's verbal scaffolding might involve asking questions (Chin, 2007) and modeling of certain behaviors and thinking styles, thereby offering the child a possibility for imitation (Hmelo-Silver et al., 2007). ...
Chapter
In this chapter we describe a guided play learning environment for 5- to 6-year-old kindergarten children that aims at fostering children’s conceptual knowledge about meshed gears’ turning direction and turning speed (the gear play environment). In an experimental study we have investigated 5- to 6-year-old’s learning about gear functioning by comparing children who engaged in the gear play environment (guided play condition) with children who freely played with gears (free play condition). The gear play environment consists of gear construction sets and a choice of task cards focusing children’s attention on turning direction and turning speed. Moreover, an adult verbally scaffolded children’s play towards the learning objectives. In the free play condition, children were provided with the construction sets without the task cards. Findings were mixed: With respect to turning direction, the results suggest that only the children in the guided play condition learned. With respect to turning speed, the results indicate that the children in both conditions were able to improve their conceptual knowledge. We conclude from our findings that guided play can facilitate scientific learning in kindergarten children, but it might depend on the learning content how much guidance is needed to achieve the best learning outcomes.
... For example, seeing an adult demonstrate how to use a new toy can limit children's own exploration of it (Bonawitz et al., 2011), and children come to different causal conclusions when they make discoveries through their own actions than by watching the same actions performed by someone else (Kushnir and Gopnik, 2005;Sobel and Sommerville, 2010). Research on guided play responds to this tension by arguing that adults should offer guidance in open-ended ways while being attentive to children's own goals and interests (Weisberg et al., 2016;Baroody et al., 2019), and experimental studies tend to support this conclusion (Benjamin et al., 2010;Alfieri et al., 2011;Fisher et al., 2013;Haden et al., 2014). ...
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In museum settings, caregivers support children's learning as they explore and interact with exhibits. Museums have developed exhibit design and facilitation strategies for promoting families' exploration and inquiry, but these strategies have rarely been contrasted. The goal of the current study was to investigate how prompts offered through staff facilitation vs. labels printed on exhibit components affected how family groups explored a circuit blocks exhibit, particularly whether children set and worked toward their own goals, and how caregivers were involved in children's play. We compared whether children, their caregivers, or both set goals as they played together, and the actions they each took to connect the circuits. We found little difference in how families set goals between the two conditions, but did find significant differences in caregivers' actions, with caregivers in the facilitation condition making fewer actions to connect circuits while using the exhibit, compared to caregivers in the exhibit labels condition. The findings suggest that facilitated and written prompts shape the quality of caregiver-child interactions in distinct ways.
... Previous studies have elaborated powerful arguments for the importance of play in children's education and identified variability in roles that ECEC teachers take in child play (Fisher et al., 2013;Weisberg et al., 2013b;Zosh et al., 2018). A vital first step in ensuring teachers take the most educationally valuable role in play is to determine the beliefs underpinning their practices. ...
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Longitudinal research suggests that optimal long-term outcomes are achieved when early childhood education and care (ECEC) balance free with guided play. A prerequisite for this achievement is that ECEC teachers value both equally. This study examines preschool teachers’ play beliefs profile and explores its association with teachers’ backgrounds (e.g., teaching experience, education level) in a sample of 674 Chinese teachers in Fujian, China. Participants completed an adapted form of the Parent Play Belief Scale, the Chinese Teacher Play Beliefs Scale (CTPBS), to report their beliefs regarding young children’s play and early academics. Latent profile analysis (LPA) revealed 91% of teachers exhibited high Academics over Guided Play (AGP) and low Free Play and Socio-Emotional Skills Support (FPSSS), whereas only 9% were high in both factors. Teachers with a decade or more teaching experience were more likely to belong to the high AGP and low FPSES profile. The findings indicate that the majority of Chinese ECEC teachers value guiding play to academic skills more than they do facilitating free play for socio-emotional skills. Professional development focused on balancing guided with free play may be necessary for the majority of Chinese ECEC teachers to catch up with the zeitgeist of contemporary international research and policy on intentional teaching in play.
... 37 In a widely-cited study with preschoolers, Bonawitz and colleagues found that young children who were primed for active learning were more likely to engage in exploratory play and discover hidden functions of a new toy compared to peers who passively watched an adult play with the novel toy. 38 Additional support for active learning comes from studies showing that children can build spatial skills [39][40] and learn properties of shapes 41 and new words [42][43] better when they are actively involved in the learning process versus passive receivers of information. 37 Students particularly benefit from active learning when the teacher does not provide high-quality instruction. ...
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The American education system is not preparing all children to thrive. Amidst a national movement to dismantle systemic racism, our schools risk propagating educational inequity by design. Only the most affluent students receive the highest quality education that emphasizes student agency and engagement through collaboration and inquiry. 1 Many schools across the United States remain trapped in an outdated "horse and buggy" model of education, particularly when instructing students from under-resourced communities. These schools frequently operate according to a "factory model" that emerged in the early 20th century to mold students for the industrial economy. Under this system, students are considered the "products" of the system with standardized assessments serving as "quality control" measures to encourage effective instruction. 2 Over the past several decades, we have attempted to repair the educational "buggy" through substantial reforms. 3 These include passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002 4 and the development of the Common Core State Standards beginning in 2009. 5 However, attempting to transform the industrial era "horse and buggy" model of education by incrementally adding new wheels and an upgraded engine is insufficient. Creating a revolutionary "Tesla" model of education is necessary for better attainment of 21st-century skills. Here, we offer an evidence-based approach to education inspired by research from the science of learning addressing how children learn and what children need to learn to be successful in the 21st century. Critically, the implementation of this framework must be flexible and culturally-relevant, while maintaining core principles that foster educational equity for all students.
... role modeling), is an effective method to improve student learning. It has been suggested that using other forms of active play, such as facilitated active play, purposely framed play and/or modeled/guided active play may be an effective approach to promote improvements in FMS (Fisher et al., 2013;Belcastro et al., 2015;Truelove et al., 2017). Whether a guided active play program compared to an Research article active play program, both focused on locomotor skills, will promote higher PA levels, more time at MVPA and improved FMS is uncertain. ...
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Reports show that children's physical activity (PA) levels are related to FMS proficiency; however, whether PA levels directly improve FMS is uncertain. This study investigated the responses of PA levels and FMS proficiency to active play (AP) and guided active play (GAP) interventions. Three community programs (seven-weeks; 4d. wk-1) were randomly assigned to: i) active play (CON); ii) locomotor skills (LOC) guided active play (GAP); and iii) object control skills (OC) GAP groups. Children's (n = 52; 6.5 (0.9) yr) interventions included continuous and/or intermittent cooperative games focused on either locomotor skills (i.e. blob tag, red-light-green-light) or object control skills i.e., hot potato, racket balloons, 4-way soccer). PA levels (accelerometers) were assessed on 2 of 4 sessions per week throughout the program. The Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2) was used to assess FMS scores. The changes for CON and LOC interventions for locomotor standard scores were-0.83 (2.61) vs. 2.6 (2.64) (= 0.022), for locomotor percentiles-9.08 (36.7) vs. 20.1 (30.4) (= 0.033) and for gross motor quotient percentiles-4.3 (30.3) vs. 24.1 (29.6) (= 0.022). Children's PA levels averaged 158.6 (6.6) kcal. 55min-1 for CON vs. 174.5 (28.3) kcal.55min-1 for LOC (= 0.089) and 170.0 (20.1) kcal. 55min-1 for OC (= 0.144). Moderate-Vigorous PA was 18.4 (8.0) %, 47.9 (7.8) % (= 0.000) and 51.9 (6.0) % (= 0.000) for CON, LOC and OC, while time at sedentary/very light PA was 36.4 (9.8) %, 15.1 (4.9) % (= 0.000) and 14.9 (15.9) %Sed/VL (= 0.001) during the 7-week program. The OC intervention showed more upper body movement experiences compared to the LOC program (p = 0.020). A guided active play program using LOC cooperative games showed increases in energy expenditure and %MVPA and improved FMS proficiency, but active play did not. For school-aged children (5-7 yr) guided active play using cooperative games may be an effective strategy to improve FMS and promote health and fitness benefits.
... The preschool teacher is, therefore, not just an observer. Instead, he participates in children's play actively and gives children feedback on their mathematical discoveries (Fisher et al., 2013). In addition, he plans mathematical activities and games sensibly and accurately. ...
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In the 21st century, gifted and talented students are probably a more valuable natural resource in any country than oil or gas. Every nation must therefore respect a small group of individuals who, by virtue of their abilities, play a crucial role in scientific, industrial, technological and cultural development. Therefore, the promotion of gifted education for excellence is also an important driver for the economic development of the society (Resch, Samhaber and Weilguny, 2008). Campbell, Eyre, Muijs, Neelands, and Robinson (2004) believe that promoting giftedness and excellence as a guiding principle for the development of educational institutions at the organisational, structural, and pedagogical levels will improve the overall quality of teaching and learning; designing an individualised and differentiated learning process will improve the achievement of all students. Today’s gifted students are tomorrow’s social, intellectual, economic, and cultural leaders, so their development should not be left to chance (Campbell et al., 2004). Educational Challenges 310 In the Slovenian school system all the conditions for the development of working activities with gifted and talented (hereafter gifted) students are in place, but according to Ovid’s thought, “medio tutissimus ibis” is firmly anchored in Slovenian school policy, which means that the middle way is the best way (Blažič et al., 2003, p. 29). Some other countries have established independent departments within subject ministries to support the development of gifted students, while in other countries interest in formal and informal forms of working with them is only beginning to revive (Blažič et al., 2003). According to Strmčnik (1995), the greatest obstacles to faster development of the gifted are the weak awareness and competence of all those in charge and the unsupportive atmosphere that paralyses the motivation and ambition of capable and successful individuals. There is also a modest scientific exploration of this complex situation, as it is largely absent from the concepts that are part of egalitarian rhetoric (such as equity, equality of opportunity, inequality, fairness, discrimination, social mobility, responsibility, etc.) (Sardoč, 2017). The problem of the gifted and talented is therefore one of the least researched in the field, although they constitute their natural inalienable or non-transferable resources (Roemer, 1996). This article reviews a range of literature and research relevant to the education of gifted and talented students, with the intention of clarifying some of the terms and concepts that underlie the promotion of giftedness in Slovenia.
... The partially task-oriented nature of the coding app play may explain why the coding app provided a suitable context for engaging in task-relevant talk, as parents and children had a task that may have focused their attention and therefore their conversation. Our finding that staying on-task was important for learning from the coding app is supported by previous research showing that structured or guided play leads to better learning compared to free play (Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, & Golinkoff, 2013) and that task irrelevant talk can hinder children's learning from media (Krcmar & Cingel, 2014). ...
Article
Research suggests that children can learn educational concepts from well-designed applications (apps), including foundational science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. Parents may be important for promoting children's STEM learning from touchscreen apps, as parents can help their children learn from other media. However, little research has explored how parents and children use coding apps together for learning, and whether specific parent-child interactions in these contexts promote children's learning from apps. Therefore, we observed 31 parents and their 4.5- to 5.0-year old children playing a coding app together and coded for spatial talk, question-asking, task-relevant talk, and responsiveness. Results show that parents and children engaged in high-quality interactions during coding app play, with parents and children exhibiting high responsiveness and task-relevant talk, and parents exhibiting a higher proportion of question-asking and spatial talk compared to their children. Importantly, linear regression analyses show that the dyad's ability to stay on task during the coding task predicts children's learning of coding, while question-asking was a negative predictor of children's learning. These results suggest that coding apps may be a rich context for STEM learning, and that specific parent-child interactions can scaffold their children's learning from STEM apps.
... Curiosity drives the curious person to actively explore and seek new information, i.e., ask questions, test hypotheses, etc. [10], [20]. As a result of this active learning, the person's learning process and information acquisition will usually be much greater and more effective [21], [22]. This effect was also demonstrated in brain study research, which showed that the more curious people are while learning new information, the better they will remember it [23]. ...
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Curiosity is a 21st century skill and is of paramount importance in the digital age. However, the assessment of curiosity is often based on self-report or subjective observations. We present the development and evaluation of a digital quantitative assessment game for question-asking-based exploration. The student navigates a graphically presented question graph by selecting questions about a series of virtual alien worlds. The game extracts question-related quantitative measures, e.g., the breadth, depth and specificity of the answers to the questions. We conducted a study with Youth University students and administered a curiosity-based questionnaire to their class teachers as an external validation. Our results show that the measure of total question specificity in the last presented world is a significant predictor of children’s curiosity, as rated by their teachers. This suggests that curiosity can be quantitatively assessed by an entertaining digital question-based game.
... • Play strengthens children's cognitive development, including language skills, problem solving, perspective taking, representational skills, memory, and creativity (Jones and Cooper 2006;Singer et al. 2003;Zigler, Singer, and Bishop-Josef 2004), as well as mathematical thinking (Fisher et al. 2013;Reikerås, Moser, and Tønnessen 2017). ...
... As a result, the type of adult linguistic input and engagement viewed as essential to explaining how children are successfully exposed to enriching language experiences during play (Weisberg et al., 2013) was hindered by the busy visual design of toys. Moreover, responding contingently to a child's actions has been shown to be an important aspect of enriching, instructive play (Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Newcombe, & Golinkoff, 2013;Weisberg et al., 2013). Thus, the ability of parents to easily be able to talk about pieces of a toy while playing with their child-rather than searching for a description as the first author found herself doing in the introductory anecdote to this studywould serve to increase the possible opportunities for contingent responses. ...
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When a parent is playing with a toy with his or her child, might a toy's "busy" visual design negatively impact the specificity and quality of the parent's talk? In this study, 24 mother-toddler (M = 23.5 months) dyads played with both (a) unmodified visually busy commercial toys and (b) modified visually "simple" versions of these commercial toys. Our focus was on the specificity of mothers' 552 references to the main parts of the toys (i.e., the rings of a stacking ring toy and the blocks of a nesting block toy), which was found to be impacted by the toys' visual design. That is, with simple toys, mothers produced a significantly greater proportion of specific references (e.g., the blue ring) than non-specific references (e.g., this/that one). Indeed, the proportion of specific references was three times greater in play with the simple toys than with the busy toys. Busy toys also reduced the number of references to parts of the toy overall and children's exposure to vocabulary such as colour terms used within specific references. These results underscore that the visual design of toys is an important aspect to consider, particularly in contexts where the goal may be to foster adult-child language and a child's exposure to more information-rich vocabulary terms during toy play with an adult.
... The combination of play and learning is both developmentally appropriate and engaging for young children (Pyle and DeLuca 2017), thus making it a central focus of preschool curricula. Studies have demonstrated a connection to a play-based learning design and gains in young children's self-regulation skills (Elias and Berk 2002;Pyle and DeLuca 2017), social competence (Nicolopoulou et al. 2015), language and communication (Mills et al. 2014), vocabulary acquisition (Van Oers and Duijkers 2013), mathematical understanding and spatial relationships (Fisher et al. 2013;Levine et al. 2012), and emergent literacy skills (Nicolopoulou et al. 2015). For children with disabilities, supporting play behaviors can increase a child's likelihood of placement and opportunities in an inclusive classroom setting and provide a medium for generalizing learned social and academic skills (Lifter et al. 2011). ...
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Play-based learning is an integral component of the early childhood classroom; however, little research has been conducted around how children with and without disabilities engage in play within an inclusive preschool setting during center time. The present investigation utilizes the Play Observation Scale and Test of Playfulness to descriptively compare the play behaviors of children with speech-language impairments and developmental disabilities in relation to their peers. Findings indicate that while children with and without disabilities are more alike than they are different in terms of their play, there are trends in play preferences and interest across comparison groups in terms of dramatic play behaviors and sustained attention during play activities. Implications for researchers and practitioners’ facilitation of play in inclusive preschool settings are presented.
Chapter
Parents these days are very peculiar about their child's education and development. The first five years of a child's life are fundamentally important. They are the foundation years that shapes children's future health, happiness, growth, development, and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and generally in life. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the benefits and positive outcomes for play in kindergarten classrooms, despite current challenges to playful learning. In this chapter, the authors discuss some key research findings that show the importance of play and outdoor exploration for developing the child holistically such as risk taking and resilience abilities, love for nature, troubleshooting, reading and writing, academic skills, physical development and health, social-emotional and soft skills, and overall brain development of the child. The interventional techniques will be discussed which will be helpful both for the parents and teachers so that children can learn in all the environments they are being exposed to.
Article
In the literature in recent years, a number of developmental studies have demonstrated the importance of children entering the school environment with a solid foundation of mathematical content knowledge and argued that problem solving, as an important mathematical process, should be acknowledged in early childhood mathematical education. However, there is less research on how children process mathematics information through problem solving in play-based early childhood education settings. This paper draws upon a cultural-historical concept of play, motives and pedagogical process of a playworld approach to investigate how Mathematical Playworld creates the motivating conditions for young children to achieve a meaningful learning experience about repeating patterns? We argue that Mathematical Playworld, as a new pedagogical approach within the worlds of imaginary situations, should be promoted, as it builds the motivating conditions that support meaningful learning of mathematical concepts in the double sense created in children. This study also contributes to understanding young children’s mathematical problem-solving processes in the collective imaginary situation, considering how learning processes become personally meaningful for children and capturing teachers’ role in play for supporting children’s mathematisation.
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This Campbell systematic review examines the evidence on the effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind curriculum in promoting children?s self‐regulation and academic skills, in order to inform its implementation in schools. The participants included students of all ages, gender, ethnicity, special education status, language‐learning status, and socio‐economic status. The review summarizes findings from 14 records across six studies conducted in the USA. The Tools curriculum significantly improved children?s math skills relative to comparison curricula, but the effect size was small. There are also shortcomings in the quality of evidence. Although the average effect sizes for self‐regulation and literacy favored tools compared to other approaches, the effect was not statistically significant. The evidence from the small number of included studies is mostly consistent with the evidence observed for other similar programs, but again the evidence is weak. The results for the outcome measures were not statistically significant. Plain language summary The Tools of the Mind curriculum improves self‐regulation and academic skills in early childhood The Tools of the Mind early childhood curriculum appear to improve children's self‐regulation and academic skills. The assessment of the tools curriculum is hampered by a lack of rigorous evidence and more research is necessary to corroborate this finding. What did the review study? Tools of the Mind (Tools) is an early childhood education curriculum, which involves structured make‐believe play scenarios and a series of other curricular activities. Tools aims to promote and improve children's self‐regulation and academic skills by having a dual focus on self‐regulation and other social‐emotional skills in educational contexts. This review examines the evidence on the effectiveness of Tools in promoting children's self‐regulation and academic skills, in order to inform its implementation in schools. What is the aim of this review? This Campbell systematic review examines the evidence on the effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind curriculum in promoting children's self‐regulation and academic skills, in order to inform its implementation in schools. The participants included students of all ages, gender, ethnicity, special education status, language‐learning status, and socio‐economic status. The review summarizes findings from 14 records across six studies conducted in the USA. What studies are included? Included studies had to have used randomized controlled trials or quasi‐experimental studies and reported on one or more quantitative effect sizes regarding tools’ effectiveness in self‐regulatory or academic domains. A total of 14 records across six studies were included in the review. The participants included students of all ages, gender, ethnicity, special education status, language learning status, and socio‐economic status. The studies included measured at least one of four primary outcomes and did not measure any secondary outcome. Studies that compared Tools with a business‐as‐usual or another intervention were included in the review. All included studies were conducted in the USA. What are the main results of the review? The Tools curriculum significantly improved children's math skills relative to comparison curricula, but the effect size was small. There are also shortcomings in the quality of evidence. Although the average effect sizes for self‐regulation and literacy favored tools compared to other approaches, the effect was not statistically significant. The evidence from the small number of included studies is mostly consistent with the evidence observed for other similar programs, but again the evidence is weak. The results for the outcome measures were not statistically significant. What do the findings of this review mean? Generally, the Tools curriculum seems to improve children's self‐regulation and academic skills. However, given the small number of included studies, as well as other methodological shortcomings, such as the high risk of bias in some of the included studies, this conclusion should be read with caution. While there is doubt as to the validity of the findings, tools’ educational approach seems to be consistent with many child developmental theories and as such, should not be ruled out. There is a need to conduct more high quality research, especially about studies focused on demonstrating tools’ effectiveness in promoting children's self‐regulation skills. How up‐to‐date is this review? The review authors searched for studies published up to December 2016. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in October 2017. Executive Summary/Abstract BACKGROUND Tools of the Mind (Tools) is an early childhood education curriculum that aims to simultaneously promote children's self‐regulation and academic skills. Given the increasing focus on self‐regulation and other social‐emotional skills in educational contexts, Tools has become increasingly implemented in classrooms around the United States, Canada, and Chile. Despite its growing popularity, Tools’ evidence base remains mixed. OBJECTIVES The aim of this review is to synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of the Tools program in promoting children's self‐regulation and academic skills. SEARCH METHODS The systematic search was conducted from October 21 through December 3, 2016. The search yielded 176 titles and abstracts, 25 of them deemed potentially relevant. After full‐text screening, 14 reports from six studies were eligible for inclusion. SELECTION CRITERIA In order to be included, a study must have had one or more quantitative effect sizes regarding Tools’ effectiveness in the self‐regulatory or academic domains. Moreover, the study must have employed statistical mechanisms to control for potential confounds. Studies that compared Tools with a business‐as‐usual or another intervention were eligible for inclusion, whereas studies that did not pertain to the Tools curriculum were excluded. The reports, whether published or unpublished, could come from any national context, language, student population, or time period as long as the conditions outlined above were met. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS All included studies classified as randomized controlled trials, though, again, quasi‐experimental studies had been eligible for inclusion. Each included study yielded effect sizes in the form of standardized mean differences. The outcomes of interest included assessor‐reported self‐regulation skills (e.g., teachers or parents rating children's self‐regulation), task‐based self‐regulation skills (e.g., children performing a self‐regulation task on a computer and receiving a score), literacy skills, and math skills. All effect sizes were interpreted as Tools’ effect relative to other business‐as‐usual programs or other interventions. RESULTS The evidence indicated statistically significant benefits for Tools children on the math pooled effect size. The other pooled effect sizes for self‐regulation and literacy favored Tools but did not reach statistical significance. AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS The results indicate positive yet small effects for the Tools program. Three of the four pooled effect sizes did not reach statistical significance, but all four pooled effect sizes favored Tools. The small number of included studies reduced power, which could explain the lack of statistical significance across three of the four outcome measures. By contrast, it is also possible that Tools either does not substantially influence children's self‐regulation or that the influence is too small to be detected with the current evidence base. Background
Article
SYNOPSIS Objective . The context of play has changed dramatically over the past decade with the ubiquitous presence of mobile technologies available to children in and outside the home. Despite increasing use of interactive technological devices at home, the quality of parental interactions in these 2D digital play contexts, relative to traditional 3D play contexts, remains relatively unexplored, especially in the domain of geometry. Design . The present study examines parental support and scaffolding of 32 parent–child dyads (16 girls, 16 boys; M age = 51.16 months) engaged in interactive play during two home visits, one involving 3D physical blocks and puzzles and the other with 2D virtual blocks and puzzles presented through apps on a tablet. Parental interactions were assessed for four scaffolding qualities (i.e., affection, encouragement, responsiveness, and teaching) and two interactional styles (i.e., child-directed and parent-directed) for 10 min of each play session. Results . Overall, parents actively scaffolded children with varied positive supports in both play contexts using a predominantly child-directed interactional style. Differences were found for the quality of parental interactions across 3D and 2D play contexts. Fewer parental scaffolds involving responsiveness and teaching were provided in the 2D context. Conclusions . Effective, yet differing, supportive parental scaffolding occurs when parents engage in both traditional and virtual spatial play. Through joint play with their children, parents can support the acquisition of foundational concepts in geometry.
Article
In light of weaker than expected associations between individual early childhood education (ECE) classroom quality measures and children's learning observed in the literature, we evaluate the associations between two different perspectives on assessing preschool classroom processes: quality ratings and counts of activity groupings, learning content, and pedagogical approaches experienced by children in the classroom. The study poses that it is feasible that teachers’ planning of programming and timing in classroom activities, content, and teaching and learning strategies may define the context in which higher or lower quality interactions then develop. Using two observational measures of process quality, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System - CLASS (ratings) and the EduSnap Classroom Observation (counts), this paper explores patterns that emerge across ratings and counts in a large, predominantly low-income sample that includes classrooms in New Jersey and Philadelphia. We find more time in choice, literacy, and math and less time in whole group and transitions are associated with higher quality ratings in classrooms. The counts measure also revealed a consistent absence of metacognitive practices across all classrooms regardless of quality ratings. These results suggest that process quality may be dependent on teachers’ decisions on how to structure the day and which content areas to focus on. To this extent, the results suggest that the ECE field should explore measures of quality and classroom process that account for the content and frequency of classroom activities. Supporting teacher practice may involve working not only on supporting their interactions with children, but also on how they plan the day and decide on content and the types of strategies that support children's learning. The results also indicate that rating protocols on classroom interactions may need to better account for how activities and content may delimit differences in quality observed.
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Purpose: Entrepreneurship is a creative skill, offers theoretical and practical information to support individuals' economic growth in society. The research examines teachers' expectations and awareness of developing entrepreneurship skills among young learners and defines the connection between play strategy and entrepreneurial skills in early childhood education (ECE). Methodology: The researcher employed a qualitative research approach. The population of the study comprised of ECE teachers. A purposive sampling technique was used, and twelve ECE teachers were interviewed from six different ECE Centers District East and Central, Karachi. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: Findings showed that teachers have very limited knowledge or don't have an understanding of entrepreneurship. According to them, this skill is related to business, and it can be done only through heavy investment. According to teachers' opinions, it isn't easy to teach students about entrepreneurship skills in early childhood education. However, they also stated that students are trained in preschools through multiple exercises. The play method is one of the many strategies that improve social behaviors; collaboration, exploration, projects, problem-solving, decision-making, and innovation. Students develop positive social habits through entrepreneurship skills (ES). The research reveals the essential relationship between play strategy and entrepreneurship skills. The study advises that schools equip potential entrepreneurs with early childhood education and play strategy that teachers be qualified to build Entrepreneurship skills among children. Applications of the study: The findings of the study promote and activate the curriculum makers, textbook developers, and policymakers to develop entrepreneurship modules that help teachers to enhance their pedagogical skills to promote entrepreneurship skills among young learners through play strategies. The Novelty of the Study: This study checked the concepts of entrepreneurship education through play strategies at the ECE level. Besides this, teachers' perceptions and understandings about entrepreneurship skills at the ECE level were also explored.
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This paper focuses on the partnership between Writopia Lab and PS 89, a K-8, Title 1 School in the Bronx, to explore concrete ways of inviting joy and play into the classroom while interacting with the embedded obstacles within our education culture.
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Scaffolding i.e. making a difcult task simpler by the variation in momentary assistance on demand is a useful strategy for learning science. Children gradually become the independent learners keeping instructor as facilitator after the responsibility for task performance transferred to their cognitive reach. The present study is experimentally designed to enquire the effects of scaffolding on science achievement after the incorporation of specic experimental manipulations. Eighty 6th standard learners of a WBBSE run Bengali medium regular govt.-aided co-educational rural HS school in South 24 Parganas district, W. B. constitute the sample of the study – divided into two equivalent halves through randomisation after the administration of entry-level pre-test – impartially for one half (40) treated with Problem Solving Method (PSM) of teaching and the rest (40) by Play Way Method (PWM) of instruction for the transaction of selected science lessons in three units. The data collection process involves the administration of two scales PPPSSLQ and SAT in three units to assess peers scaffolding and achievement respectively of the two groups after the instructions of nearly two months duration. Peers scaffolding is found to be independent of the applied variation in teaching methods i.e. PSM and PWM of teaching. The study discloses peers scaffolding to be signicantly effective merely on Unit III science achievement for the learners instructed by PSM of teaching and for the analysis merged for the differentially treated all the sample. But no signicant effect of peers scaffolding on achievement is observed in case of PWM of teaching.
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Playful learning has garnered supporters and research evidence, and also can be seen as nebulous and, therefore, reliant on practitioners’ intuitions in early education settings. In this paper, we offer an explicit theoretical account, grounded in developmental psychology of how play might support the acquisition of broad skills and dispositions for lifelong learning. We argue that play develops self-regulation and motivation, both of which support the child’s agency in their learning. We discuss a culturally inclusive view of agency that is distinct from autonomy, and which is visible in many existing early childhood pedagogies. We conclude by suggesting practical strategies that educators can adopt to enhance learning through play and children’s agency in their learning.
Book
This book provides a systematic exploration of family literacy, including its historic origins, theoretical expansion, practical applications within the field, and focused topics within family literacy. Grounded in sociocultural approaches to learning and literacy, the book covers research on how families use literacy in their daily lives as well as different models of family literacy programs and interventions that provide opportunities for parent-child literacy interactions and that support the needs of children and parents as adult learners. Chapters discuss key topics, including the roles of race, ethnicity, culture, and social class in family literacy; digital family literacies; family-school relationships and parental engagement in schools; fathers’ involvement in family literacy; accountability and employment; and more. Throughout the book, Lynch and Prins share evidence-based literacy practices and highlight examples of successful family literacy programs. Acknowledging lingering concerns, challenges, and critiques of family literacy, the book also offers recommendations for research, policy, and practice. Accessible and thorough, this book comprehensively addresses family literacies and is relevant for researchers, scholars, graduate students, and instructors and practitioners in language and literacy programs.
Even with increasing calls for both researchers and educators to attend to the “E” in STEM from within the larger field of STEM education, little is known about the practices that serve to support early educators’ pedagogy and related content knowledge of engineering design. Using multiple methods in a revelatory, embedded, single-case design, this research provides an explanatory account of preservice teachers (PTs) engagement during a structured field experience with preschoolers designed to foster their understanding of design-based engineering though collaborative learning and teaching experiences. Research Findings: Findings reveal that the PTs developed more robust understandings of design-based engineering and stronger self-efficacy beliefs related to their practice following participation in the learning and teaching collaborative project. PTs also voiced concerns over perceived challenges of integrating engineering instruction within the pedagogically and content restrictive environments of contemporary early childhood classrooms. Practice or Policy: Additionally, this research suggests that guided teaching and learning partnerships can support early childhood teacher preparation programs in developing preservice teachers’ understandings of the interrelationships between engineering and other aspects of the curriculum using emergent curricular approaches and interactional, play-based pedagogies.
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In the current paper, we report on the recommendations for preschool science put forward in the educational standards of U.S. states. Our focus was specifically on whether educational standards recommend abstract science constructs—constructs that are difficult to learn. In Study 1, we focused on science constructs related to inquiry (i.e., activities geared towards the generation of scientific knowledge). And in Study 2, we focused on science constructs related to facts (i.e., established scientific knowledge). In each study, we developed a coding scheme to distinguish between concrete and abstract constructs and then determined the relative prevalence of each. Our findings show that preschoolers are indeed expected to learn abstract science constructs. At the same time, educational standards varied considerably across U.S. states. Implications for the field of early science learning are discussed.
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Teaching is a powerful way to transmit knowledge, but with this power comes a hazard: When teachers fail to select the best set of evidence for the learner, learners can be misled to draw inaccurate inferences. Evaluating others’ failures as teachers, however, is a nontrivial problem; people may fail to be informative for different reasons, and not all failures are equally blameworthy. How do learners evaluate the quality of teachers, and what factors influence such evaluations? Here, we present a Bayesian model of teacher evaluation that considers the utility of a teacher's pedagogical sampling given their prior knowledge. In Experiment 1 (N=1168), we test the model predictions against adults’ evaluations of a teacher who demonstrated all or a subset of the functions on a novel device. Consistent with the model predictions, participants’ ratings integrated information about the number of functions taught, their values, as well as how much the teacher knew. Using a modified paradigm for children, Experiments 2 (N=48) and 3 (N=40) found that preschool-aged children (2a, 3) and adults (2b) make nuanced judgments of teacher quality that are well predicted by the model. However, after an unsuccessful attempt to replicate the results with preschoolers (Experiment 4, N=24), in Experiment 5 (N=24) we further investigate the development of teacher evaluation in a sample of seven- and eight-year-olds. These older children successfully distinguished teachers based on the amount and value of what was demonstrated, and their ability to evaluate omissions relative to the teacher's knowledge state was related to their tendency to spontaneously reference the teacher's knowledge when explaining their evaluations. In sum, our work illustrates how the human ability to learn from others supports not just learning about the world but also learning about the teachers themselves. By reasoning about others’ informativeness, learners can evaluate others’ teaching and make better learning decisions.
Chapter
An overview of the provincial early learning/curriculum documents for early childhood and Kindergarten education in Canada’s ten provinces (constitutionally education is not a federal government responsibility) indicates that while STEM-related subjects such as science, mathematics and literacy are discussed in these documents there is no direct discussion of STEM itself, technology is rarely mentioned (and almost always in the context of digital technology such as using tablets), and educators are strongly encouraged to use play-based approaches to achieve learning outcomes at both pre-kindergarten and kindergarten ages. Initiatives to use technology such as Bee-Bots, a small floor-based programmable robot for early ages, have started in some provinces, and we explore the potential for such robots to be used to develop foundational understandings of math, science, and literacy which will be built upon in Kindergarten and later grades. We conclude by discussing the implications of these robot technologies for professional development with early childhood educators.
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This paper focuses upon the case of one middle school teacher, Jackie. Over the course of an academic year, we explore Jackie's instructional decision making and assessment practices, with a focus on how she infused play into learning and the ways it impacted students. The concept of play and its impact upon learning and engagement is linked to several cognitive, emotional, and social benefits with the bulk of the research literature situated in early childhood education contexts, although some suggest it can take many forms across the continuum of a learner's journey in school. To demonstrate the impact of Jackie's teaching, the findings are represented as found poems showcasing Jackie and her students, showing how a playful approach to learning and assessment was enacted in Jackie's classroom, creating conditions for students to engage in problem solving, analyze/critique ideas, suggest hypothetical thoughts, ask questions, and attempt new skills. Implications of attending to how Jackie infused play into daily decision-making related to instruction, assessment and interpretation of curriculum include enabling us to understand more about how a playful pedagogy can support middle school students’ willingness to engage and persist with learning.
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Book
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Structured around Bishop’s six fundamental mathematical activities, this book brings together examples of mathematics education from a range of countries to help readers broaden their view on maths and its interrelationship to other aspects of life. Considering different educational traditions and diverse contexts, and illustrating theory through the use of real-life vignettes throughout, this book encourages readers to review, reflect on, and critique their own practice when conducting activities on explaining, counting, measuring, locating, designing, and playing. Aimed at early childhood educators and practitioners looking to improve the mathematics learning experience for all their students, this practical and accessible guide provides the knowledge and tools to help every child.
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Evidence for the superiority of guided instruction is explained in the context of our knowledge of human cognitive architecture, expert–novice differences, and cognitive load. Although unguided or minimally guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half-century that consistently indicate that minimally guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process. The advantage of guidance begins to recede only when learners have sufficiently high prior knowledge to provide “internal” guidance. Recent developments in instructional research and instructional design models that support guidance during instruction are briefly described.
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Discovery learning is an important, yet controversial topic in the fields of psychology, education, and cognitive science. Though traditional views emphasize a lack of instructional constraint or scaffolding, more recent evidence suggests that guidance should be included in the process of discovery learning. The present review summarizes three general approaches which have been shown to facilitate guided discovery learning: (1) strategic presentation of materials, (2) consequential feedback, and (3) probing questions and self-explanations. Techniques for implementing approaches are discussed, as well as the underlying mechanisms that contribute to their effectiveness. WIREs Cogn Sci 2012. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1199 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Discovery learning approaches to education have recently come under scrutiny (Tobias & Duffy, 2009), with many studies indicating limitations to discovery learning practices. Therefore, 2 meta-analyses were conducted using a sample of 164 studies: The 1st examined the effects of unassisted discovery learning versus explicit instruction, and the 2nd examined the effects of enhanced and/or assisted discovery versus other types of instruction (e.g., explicit, unassisted discovery). Random effects analyses of 580 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for explicit instruction when compared with unassisted discovery under most conditions (d = –0.38, 95% CI [−.44, −.31]). In contrast, analyses of 360 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for enhanced discovery when compared with other forms of instruction (d = 0.30, 95% CI [.23, .36]). The findings suggest that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners, whereas feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, and elicited explanations do. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) issued a formal report warning that U.S. children are not acquiring the mathematical competencies necessary to be successful in the 21st century. The Panel argues that “the eminence, safety, and well-being of nations have been dependent on its citizens’ ability to deal with sophisticated quantitative ideas for centuries…[and that] without substantial and sustained changes to its educational system, the United States will relinquish its leadership in the 21st century” (p. xi). Accordingly, more educational practices must promote interest and mathematical competencies in early childhood in ways that will facilitate later academic achievement and lifelong success (Ginsburg, Lee, & Boyd, 2008; National Academies, 2006). In this chapter we argue that the optimal early learning environment fosters mathematical thinking through a playful learning approach. Based on developmental theory and learning sciences research, we show that playful learning experiences are intrinsically motivating and allow children to develop conceptual and procedural math knowledge through meaningful engagement and ‘sense-making’ processes.
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Evidence for the superiority of guided instruction is explained in the context of our knowledge of human cognitive architecture, expert–novice differences, and cognitive load. Although unguided or minimally guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half-century that consistently indicate that minimally guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process. The advantage of guidance begins to recede only when learners have sufficiently high prior knowledge to provide “internal” guidance. Recent developments in instructional research and instructional designmodels that support guidance during instruction are briefly described.
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A follow-up study of children who began school at age 4 (referred to as Year 1 in this study) was conducted to examine the influence of three different preschool models on later school success. These children from an urban school district were studied again in Year 5 as they prepared to leave the primary grades and in Year 6 when they were scheduled to enter fourth grade if not previously retained. The study examined report card grades, retention rates, and special education placement of 160 children at the end of their fifth year in school and 183 children at the end of their sixth year in school. The sample was 96% African American and 54% female, with 75% of the children qualifying for subsidized school lunch and 73% living in single-parent families. Academically, girls surpassed boys at the end of Year 5, and this difference persisted into the next grade level. Children whose preschool experience was more academically directed had been retained less often than peers. No differences attributable to preschool model were found for special education placement. By the end of children's fifth year in school, there were no significant differences in academic performance of children who had experienced three different preschool models. By the end of their sixth year in school, children whose preschool experiences had been academically directed earned significantly lower grades compared to children who had attended child-initiated preschool classes. Children's later school success appears to have been enhanced by more active, child-initiated early learning experiences. Their progress may have been slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduced formalized learning experiences too early for most children's developmental status.
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Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the high levels of plant diversity in the Neotropics today, but little is known about diversification patterns of Neotropical floras through geological time. Here, we present the longest time series compiled for palynological plant diversity of the Neotropics (15 stratigraphic sections, 1530 samples, 1411 morphospecies, and 287,736 occurrences) from the Paleocene to the early Miocene (65 to 20 million years ago) in central Colombia and western Venezuela. The record shows a low-diversity Paleocene flora, a significantly more diverse early to middle Eocene flora exceeding Holocene levels, and a decline in diversity at the end of the Eocene and early Oligocene. A good correlation between diversity fluctuations and changes in global temperature was found, suggesting that tropical climate change may be directly driving the observed diversity pattern. Alternatively, the good correspondence may result from the control that climate exerts on the area available for tropical plants to grow.
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An analysis of students' academic and social scores compares a Montessori school with other elementary school education programs.
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Cognitive control skills important for success in school and life are amenable to improvement in at-risk preschoolers without costly interventions.
Book
Early childhood mathematics is vitally important for young children's present and future educational success. Research demonstrates that virtually all young children have the capability to learn and become competent in mathematics. Furthermore, young children enjoy their early informal experiences with mathematics. Unfortunately, many children's potential in mathematics is not fully realized, especially those children who are economically disadvantaged. This is due, in part, to a lack of opportunities to learn mathematics in early childhood settings or through everyday experiences in the home and in their communities. Improvements in early childhood mathematics education can provide young children with the foundation for school success. Relying on a comprehensive review of the research, Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood lays out the critical areas that should be the focus of young children's early mathematics education, explores the extent to which they are currently being incorporated in early childhood settings, and identifies the changes needed to improve the quality of mathematics experiences for young children. This book serves as a call to action to improve the state of early childhood mathematics. It will be especially useful for policy makers and practitioners-those who work directly with children and their families in shaping the policies that affect the education of young children. © 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Article
This paper examines young children's developing concepts of geometric shapes. In Study 1, 54 children from preschool, second and fourth grades, and 12 adults completed a sorting task. Results suggested that older children rely more on rule-based definitions and less on perceptual similarity than younger children when making sorting judgments. The former transition occurs earlier and apparently more abruptly than the latter. These results are generally consistent with Keil's (1989) description of a characteristic-to-defining shift. Study 2 examined the performance of 29 three- and 4-year-olds. Results suggested that few of these children relied on defining features when the overall domain of geometric shapes was considered. In both studies children demonstrated a developmental shift at different times for different shapes. The complexity of each type of shape is proposed to explain these rates of development.
Article
∗ Based on a talk presented at The Symposium on the Young Child, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 1972. This paper was produced pursuant to a contract with the Office of Education, U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and a grant from the Office of Child Development. Contractors undertaking such projects under Government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their professional judgment. Points of view or opinions stated do not, therefore, represent official Government position or policy. Contract OCD-05-70-166.
Article
Abstract— The use of “concrete manipulatives” in mathematics education is supported by research and often accepted as a sine qua non of “reform” approaches. This article reviews the research on the use of manipulatives and critiques common notions regarding concrete manipulatives. It presents a reformulation of the definition of concrete as used in educational psychology and educational research and provides a rationale of how, based on that reformulation, computer manipulatives may be pedagogically efficacious. The article presents 7 hypothesized, interrelated affordances of manipulatives and briefly reviews evidence for their empirical validity.
Article
Abstract— A growing body of research suggests that the use of concrete materials is not a sure-fire strategy for helping children succeed in the classroom. Instead, concrete materials can help or hinder learning, depending on a number of different factors. Taken together, the articles in this issue highlight the complexities involved in using concrete materials in the classroom and warn educators and researchers that students’ learning from concrete materials can be derailed in a number of ways, such as (a) choosing the wrong types of materials, (b) structuring the environment in ways that do not support learning from concrete materials, and (c) failing to connect concrete representations to abstract representations. Each of these problems is discussed and some potential solutions are offered.
Article
Abstract— As the articles in this special issue suggest, linking concrete and abstract representations remains a fundamentally important challenge of cognition development and education research. This issue is considered from the perspective of the dual-representation hypothesis—all symbols are simultaneously objects in their own right and representations of something else—which can shed light on the challenges of linking concrete and symbolic representations. Manipulations that lead children to focus on the object properties may actually make it harder for them to focus on what the symbols represent. Conversely, decreasing children’s attention to the object’s properties can make it easier for them to establish a link between concrete and symbolic. The educational implications of the dual-representation hypothesis are considered.
Article
Mathematical knowledge has developed from human activities through thousands of years and is bound to the world and cultures that men and women experience. One can say that mathematics is rooted in humans' everyday life, an environment where people reach agreement regarding principles in mathematics. Through interaction with worldly phenomena and people, children will strive to understand their surrounding world, gaining experience that they can then in turn use to understand future situations. The environment in which a child grows up, thereby plays an important role in what that child experiences and what opportunities for learning that child has. This article aims at describing what opportunities there are for toddlers to experience and learn basic aspects of mathematics, such as mathematical concepts and the relation between parts and whole, in interaction with other people and the surrounding world. In order to fulfil this aim, an analysis has been done of critical conditions of learning that may be discerned in toddlers' daily activities. Four authentic examples are described and discussed in this article. Results from the qualitatively analyzed videographic study of toddlers' experiences of mathematics in day-care show that variation, simultaneity and reasonableness seem to be critical conditions of learning, as well as the opportunity to focus on important aspects in a phenomenon. Adults working with toddlers therefore play a very important role in setting perimeters for toddlers' experiences and opportunities to explore mathematical phenomena.
Article
Child engagement in prekindergarten classrooms was examined using 2,751 children (mean age=4.62) enrolled in public prekindergarten programs that were part of the Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and the State-Wide Early Education Programs Study. Latent class analysis was used to classify children into 4 profiles of classroom engagement: free play, individual instruction, group instruction, and scaffolded learning. Free play children exhibited smaller gains across the prekindergarten year on indicators of language/literacy and mathematics compared to other children. Individual instruction children made greater gains than other children on the Woodcock Johnson Applied Problems. Poor children in the individual instruction profile fared better than nonpoor children in that profile; in all other snapshot profiles, poor children fared worse than nonpoor children.
Article
Incluye bibliografía e índice
Article
Theoretical analyses of the development of numerical representations suggest that playing linear number board games should enhance young children's numerical knowledge. Consistent with this prediction, playing such a game for roughly 1 hr increased low-income preschoolers' (mean age = 5.4 years) proficiency on 4 diverse numerical tasks: numerical magnitude comparison, number line estimation, counting, and numeral identification. The gains remained 9 weeks later. Classmates who played an identical game, except for the squares varying in color rather than number, did not improve on any measure. Also as predicted, home experience playing number board games correlated positively with numerical knowledge. Thus, playing number board games with children from low-income backgrounds may increase their numerical knowledge at the outset of school.
Dual representation and the linking
  • D Uttal
  • O Doherty
  • K Newland
  • R Hand
  • L L Deloache
Uttal, D., O'Doherty, K., Newland, R., Hand, L. L., & DeLoache, J. (2009). Dual representation and the linking
Academic kindergarten and later academic success: The impact of direct instruction The ambiguity of play
  • J Stockard
  • K Engelmann
Stockard, J., & Engelmann, K. (2008). Academic kindergarten and later academic success: The impact of direct instruction (Technical Report 2008–7). Eugene, OR: National Institute. Sutton-Smith, B. (2001). The ambiguity of play. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The values represent mean percentages of instances accepted as " real shapes " in the sorting task during Time 1
  • Note
Note. The values represent mean percentages of instances accepted as " real shapes " in the sorting task during Time 1. Values in parentheses are standard deviations.
Using concreteness in education: Real problems, potential solutions. Child Development Perspectives Children's classroom engagement and school readiness gains in prekindergarten Mathematics learning in early childhood
  • C M C Bjorklund
  • N M Mcneil
  • A M N Glenberg
  • C Howes
  • M Burchinal
  • R Pianta
  • S Ritchie
  • D M Bryant
Bjorklund, C. (2008). Toddlers' opportunities to learn math. International Journal of Early Childhood, 40, 81–95. doi:10.1007/BF03168365 Brown, M. C., McNeil, N. M., & Glenberg, A. M. (2009). Using concreteness in education: Real problems, potential solutions. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 160–164. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2009.00098.x Chein, N., Howes, C., Burchinal, M., Pianta, R., Ritchie, S., Bryant, D. M., et al. (2010). Children's classroom engagement and school readiness gains in prekindergarten. Child Development, 81, 1534–1550. doi:10.1111/ j.1467-8624.2010.01490.x Cross, C. T., Woods, T. A., & Schweingruber, H. (2009). Mathematics learning in early childhood. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Academic kindergarten and later academic success: The impact of direct instruction
  • J Stockard
  • K Engelmann
Stockard, J., & Engelmann, K. (2008). Academic kindergarten and later academic success: The impact of direct instruction (Technical Report 2008-7). Eugene, OR: National Institute.
22 (.31)17 (.28)17 (.32) Nonvalid exemplars Guided play16 (.19) .16 (.22) .15 (.19) Didactic instruction
  • Free
Free play .10 (.22) .22 (.31) .17 (.28) .17 (.32) Nonvalid exemplars Guided play.18 (.27) .16 (.19) .16 (.22) .15 (.19) Didactic instruction .14 (.27) .19 (.25) .19 (.28) .23 (.28)
Dual representation and the linking of concrete and symbolic representations Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes
  • D Uttal
  • K O 'doherty
  • R Newland
  • L L Hand
  • J Deloache
  • L S Vygotsky
Uttal, D., O'Doherty, K., Newland, R., Hand, L. L., & DeLoache, J. (2009). Dual representation and the linking of concrete and symbolic representations. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 156–159. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606. 2009.00097.x Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Conceptualizing a pedagogy of play: International perspectives from theory, policy, and practice
  • E Wood
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Concrete" computer manipulatives in mathematics education
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Using multivariate statistics
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Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics. (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work
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