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Published on October 25, 2019

CECE Researchers Publish Chapter Outlining Findings of Six Math Play Studies

Play and Curriculum: Play & Culture Studies Volume 15

Sudha Swaminathan and Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, researchers at the Center for Early Childhood Education, have authored "Facilitating Mathematical Thinking in Preschool Play: Findings of the CECE Math-Play Studies." The chapter appears in the book Play and Curriculum: Play & Culture Studies (vol. 15), edited by Myae Han and James E. Johnson (2020, Hamilton Books).

The chapter summarizes the findings of six different CECE studies focused on math and play over the past twelve years, including the following:

  • Study 1: Which aspects of block play contribute to math learning?
  • Study 2: How do preschool teachers engage children in mathematical thinking in play?
  • Study 3: Which types of teacher-child play interactions contribute to math learning?
  • Study 4: Do increases in teacher math talk during play lead to greater math learning?
  • Study 5: Which math topics do teachers talk about, how do they talk about them, and why?
  • Study 6: Which domains, structures, and purposes of math talk predict learning?
Combined, the six studies provide evidence that play in early childhood classrooms frequently includes mathematical thinking and conversations, and that play that includes mathematical thinking can promote children's math learning. In addition, preschool teachers can play an important role in supporting children's mathematical thinking.