Mathematics in early childhood: Teacher educators’ accounts of their work

Kristin Lyn Whyte*, M. Abigail Stein, Debbie Kim, Natalie Jou, Cynthia E. Coburn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While early childhood practitioners have long been asked to have complex understandings of child development and provide rich, meaningful educational experiences for children, focusing on mathematics marks new terrain. Consequently, teacher educators are now tasked with figuring out how to communicate new ideas about early mathematics education to early childhood practitioners, yet we know little about their work. This paper examines what early childhood teacher educators have to say about their work. We found that there were only small differences in how they described: (1) what they teach, (2) how to teach it, (3) resources they draw from, and (4) what informs their work. When there were differences in their approaches, these often were reflective of whether the teacher educators had more of an early childhood or mathematics background. The teacher educators' descriptions show there is a need to have clear understandings of what early childhood math looks like in action and for increased collaboration between early childhood and mathematics experts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-231
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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