Preschool Educators’ Sustained Professional Development in Young Children’s Mathematical Learning

Bob Perry, Sue Dockett, Elspeth Harley


This paper investigates the effects of a sustained professional development project in
South Australia in which a small group of preschool educators worked with the
authors to develop their own knowledge and skills in facilitating young children’s
mathematical learning. Through the development of an approach to pedagogy that
linked the mandated learning outcomes for preschools in South Australia to
powerful mathematical ideas, the preschool educators have changed their practices
in mathematics education and the ways in which they think about these practices. As
well, implementation of a narrative assessment approach has provided opportunities
not only for the enhancement of children’s learning but also enhancement of the
educators’ mathematical knowledge and skills. After providing background about
current research on effective pedagogy in preschools, the paper considers the impact
of the professional development project on the early childhood educators,
particularly in terms of their growth in knowledge, skills and confidence in early
childhood mathematics.


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