EC.10. Mathematics Methods Experiences for Early Childhood Teachers
Effective preparation programs preparing teachers of mathematics at the early childhood level require at least one mathematics methods course (equivalent of 3 semester units) focused on mathematics teaching, children’s mathematical thinking, and development of mathematics learning at the early childhood level. [Elaboration of P.2 and P.3]
The demands of teaching and learning of mathematics in the 21st century require that candidates complete at least one mathematics methods course focused on grades pre-K through Grade 2 to fully prepare new teachers with a strong foundation for success. In no grade-bands must more work be done to achieve this than in pre-K–2. Given the goal of educating mathematics teachers who are well-prepared, the often challenging nature of initial teaching placements, and the breadth and depth of practices and dispositions needed, programs designed to prepare beginning mathematics teachers provide multiple mathematics methods courses for those seeking certification to teach broader grade-bands (such as Pre-K–5 or K–8). At the same time we acknowledge that differences in the designs of teacher preparation programs will shape the ways in which this goal is achieved. As a field we need to subject these approaches to appropriate scrutiny to ensure that programs graduate early childhood teachers of mathematics who are well prepared.
Methods courses include opportunities for teacher candidates to engage in mathematics, learn about children’s mathematical thinking and solution strategies, identify and integrate children’s lived experiences and funds of knowledge into mathematics lessons, learn pedagogical strategies discussed in Chapter 2, and learn to use assessment to build on children’s understandings and support and extend their learning—in short, to understand and use complete learning trajectories in their teaching.