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Project Title:The Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) Early Childhood Mathematics InitiativeInstitution Name:Northern Kentucky University Innovation Category:Research and Regional Stewardship Project Director:Daniel McGee, Executive DirectorContact Information:(859) 620-3898, mcgeed4@nku.eduWebsite:http://kymath.org
Project Description:The Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) (a statewide center with regional coordinators at most public post-secondary institutions in Kentucky) and the Erikson Institute in Chicago (The only post-secondary institution with advanced degrees in early childhood development) have followed up years of collaboration training pre-k teachers in Kentucky to integrate the big ideas of mathematics into early childhood experiences with a bold new initiative. This initiative incorporates the KCM’s established expertise in “professional noticing,” the Erikson Institute’s expertise in early childhood curriculum and their shared experience training pre-k teachers. Professional noticing allows for targeting mathematics instruction by training teachers to make good teaching decisions for each individual student. While still a relatively new project, the response from pre-k teachers has been quite extraordinary and rapid growth is imminent.
  • To develop a progression for the mathematics curriculum of the Erikson Institute that will allow for effective professional noticing by pre-k teachers.
  • To train pre-k teachers to understand the mathematics pedagogy and curriculum associated with the big ideas of the Erikson institute.
  • To train pre-k instructors to effectively integrate the principles of professional noticing into mathematics instruction for pre-k students.
  • To establish that this training improves, by at least 10%, the percentage of students that are “ready” for kindergarten MEASURES, PN Measure (NKU), PCK Measure (Erikson), Attitudes/Beliefs (Erikson), plus positive results from diagnostic interviews and a final survey
  • More than 150 pre-k teachers throughout Kentucky have received mathematics pedagogy and curriculum training based on the big ideas of Erikson Institute. Of these, the first cohort has received training in professional noticing.
  • 100% of participants in the joint KCM/Erikson professional learning sessions are now actively integrating mathematics activities into the early childhood experiences of their students.
  • 100% of participants in the joint KCM/Erikson professional learning sessions use pre-selected children’s books in order to initiate mathematics exploration in the pre-k classroom.
  • Discussions to create the infrastructure for a vast expansion with other statewide agencies are ongoing.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Professional Noticing uses teachers’ understanding of a learning trajectory to help students meet their academic goals. Early childhood education, however, promotes the holistic development of a child. When designing professional learning experiences, this required a progression that gently encourages progress but allows children to explore without feeling pressured.  An initial lack of infrastructure in pre-k mathematics education in Kentucky greatly limited the ability of the program to grow. However, a very high quality model of what pre-k mathematics instruction can be has brought attention to the need for more resource- and programmatic infrastructure as well as associated discussions with statewide organizations.
Evaluation Approach:As “kindergarten readiness” should be independent of the assessment, the decision was made with this program to assess “kindergarten readiness” using the assessment in place at the school where students enter kindergarten (currently Brigance in Kentucky). It was also desirable that a long term follow-up of students be conducted. Administratively, this required agreements to share data between the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Center for Mathematics. A longstanding cooperative relationship made this possible.
Potential for Replication:This KCM program was founded with a modest investment from the KCM; however, after two years, the expectation is that it will be completely funded externally. Hence, if a region has a similar need for pre-k development, the appropriate people and some seed money to get it started, then this should be a very replicable project.
Additional Resources:

Additional contact person: Alice Gabbard, Senior Director, gabbardal@nku.edu  (859) 572-7691(859) 572-7691

More resources:

Balfanz, R. (1999) ‘Why do we teach young children so little mathematics? Some historical considerations’, in J. V. Copley (ed.) Mathematics in the Early Years, pp. 3–10. Reston, VA: NCTM. Ball, D. L. (1988) ‘Unlearning to teach mathematics’. For the Learning of Mathematics, 8, 40–8. Ball, D. L. (1990a) ‘Breaking with experience in learning to teach mathematics: The role of a preservice methods course’. For the Learning of Mathematics, 10, 10–16. Ball, D. L. (1990b) ‘The mathematical understanding that prospective teachers bring to teacher education’. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 449–67. Carpenter, T. P., Fennema, E., Franke, M. L., Levi, L. & Empson, S. B. (1999). Children’s mathematics: Cognitively guided instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Clements, D. H. & Sarama, J. (2004). Learning trajectories in mathematics education. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 6, 81-89. Clements, D. H. & Sarama, J. (2009). Learning and teaching early mathematics: The learning trajectories approach. New York: Routledge. Copley, J. V. (2004) The early childhood collaborative: A professional development model to communicate and implement the standards, in D. H. Clements and J. Sarama (eds) Engaging Young Children in Mathematics: Standards for Early Childhood Mathematics Education, pp. 401–14. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Elkind, D. (1998) Educating young children in math, science, and technology, paper presented at the Dialogue on early childhood science, mathematics, and technology education, Washington, DC. Gelman, R. (1980). What young children know about numbers. Educational Psychologist, 15, 54−68. Greenes, C. (1999). Ready to learn: Developing young children's mathematical powers. In J. Copley (Ed.), Mathematics in the early years (pp. 39−47). Reston, VA.: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Ginsburg, H. P., Kaplan, R. G., Cannon, J., Cordero, M. I., Eisenband, J. G., Galanter, M. et al. (2006) Helping early childhood educators to teach mathematics, in M. Zaslow and I. Martinez-Beck (eds) Critical Issues in Early Childhood Professional Development, pp. 171–202. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes. Hill, H. C., &Ball, D. L. (2004). Learning mathematics for teaching: Results from California’s mathematics professional development institutes. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 35, 330-351. Irwin, K., & Burgham, D. (1992). Big numbers and small children. The New Zealand Mathematics Magazine, 29, 9−19. Kostelnik, M. (1992) Myths associated with developmentally appropriate programs. Young Children 47, 17–23. Lortie, D. (1975) Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NAEYC/NCTM) (2002). Position statement. Early childhood mathematics: Promoting good beginnings Retrieved September 20, 2013 from http://www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/mathematics Philipp, R. A., Ambrose, R., Clement, L. L., Sowder, J. T., Schappelle, B. P., Sowder, L., Chauvot, J., & Thanheiser, E. (2007). The effects of early field experiences on the mathematical content knowledge and beliefs of prospective elementary school teachers: An experimental study. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 38, 438-476. Quinn, R. J. (1997). Effects of mathematics methods courses on the mathematical attitudes and content knowledge of preservice teachers. The Journal of Educational Research, 91, 108-113. Ryan, S. (2004) Message in a model: Teachers’ responses to a court-ordered mandate for curriculum reform. Educational Policy, 18, 661–85. Sarama, J. and DiBiase, A.M. (2004). The professional development challenge in preschool mathematics, in D. H. Clements and J. Sarama (eds) Engaging Young Children in Mathematics: Standards for Early Childhood Mathematics Education, pp. 415–46. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Schack, E., Fisher, M., Thomas, J., Eisenhardt, S., Tassell, J., & Yoder, M., (2013). Preservice teachers professional noticing of children’s early numeracy. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 16, 379-397 Seo, K. H., & Ginsburg, H. P. (2004). What is developmentally appropriate in early childhood mathematics education? Lessons from new research. In D. H. Clements, J. Sarama, & A. -M. DiBiase (Eds.), Engaging young children in mathematics: Standards for early childhood mathematics education (pp. 91−104). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Sherin, M. G., & van Es, E. A. (2009). Effects of video club participation on teachers' professional vision. Journal of Teacher Education, 60, 20-37. Steffe, L. P., von Glasersfeld, E., Richards, J., & Cobb, P. (1983). Children’s counting types: Philosophy, theory, and application. New York: Praeger Scientific. Steffe, L. P., Cobb, P., & von Glasersfeld, E. (1988). Construction of arithmetical meanings and strategies. New York: Springer-Verlag. Steffe, L. (1992). Learning stages in the construction of the number sequence. In J. Bideaud, C. Meljac, & J. Fischer (Eds.), Pathways to number: Children’s developing numerical abilities (pp. 83–88). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum. Stoddart, T., Connell, M. L., & Stofflett, R. T. (1993). Reconstructing elementary teacher candidates' understanding of mathematics and science content. Teaching and Teacher Education, 9, 229-241. Sztajn, P., Confrey, J., Wilson, P.H., & Edgington, C. (2012). Learning trajectory based instruction: Towards a theory of teaching. Educational Researcher, 41, 147-156. Tapia, M., & Marsh, G. E., II. (2004). An instrument to measure mathematics attitudes. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 8, 16–21. Thomas, J. & Tabor, P.D. (2012). Developing Quantitative Mental Imagery. Teaching Children Mathematics, 19, 174-183. Thomas, J , Schack, E., Fisher, M., Eisenhardt, S., Yoder, M., & Tassell, J. (2012). Noticing Numeracy Now: Preservice teachers’ ability to attend children’s mathematical thinking. American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, BC. Walsh, D. J., Smith, M. E., Alexander, M. and Ellwein, M. C. (1993) ‘The curriculum as mysterious and constraining: Teachers’ negotiations of the first year of a pilot programme for at risk 4-year-olds’. Journal of Curriculum Studies 25, 317–32. Wright, R. J., Martland, J., Stafford, A., & Stanger, G. (2002). Teaching number: Advancing children’s skills and strategies. London, UK: Paul Chapman Publications/Sage. Wright, R. J., Martland, J., & Stafford, A. (2006). Early numeracy: Assessment for teaching and intervention (2nd ed.). London, UK: Paul Chapman Publications/Sage. Zvonkin, A. (1992). Mathematics for little ones. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 11, 207−219.

CEO-to-CEO Contact:Geoff Mearns , Presdientmearns@nku.edu
(859) 572-5123
Date Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014