Mathematics education beliefs and practices of Under 3s educators in Australia

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There is general agreement that young children are capable of accessing mathematical ideas and should be given the opportunity to do so in their early childhood educational settings. However, existing research has established a range of challenges for early childhood mathematics education; in particular, related to educators’ confidence and competence in teaching mathematics. This article presents data from a national survey to address the research question: What are the mathematics education beliefs and practices of Under 3s educators in Australia? Findings from a sample of 195 respondents currently working in an Under 3s educational setting are reported in relation to three themes: 1. Educators’ understandings and self-understandings; 2. Educators’ skills and capabilities; and 3. Educators’ values and norms. In contrast to existing research that indicates low self-efficacy in mathematics among early childhood educators, this sample of Australian educators report positive self-understandings in relation to mathematics. They report high levels of comfort in their mathematics education practice, and appear to be perceptive of the range of mathematical ideas with which babies and toddlers engage. Moreover, educators appear to be comfortable in gaining ideas from babies and toddlers, which is an important practice contributing towards meaningful mathematics education for these young children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-769
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Issue number5
Early online date09 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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