Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Kindergarten; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Elementary);


The purpose of this study was to investigate concept development as it relates to the teaching of mathematics in the kindergarten, and to propose a program of activities to be used in developing mathematical concepts with kindergarten children. Basic to determining the strategy to be used in teaching children is a consideration of the background of information the children possess when the teaching begins, and the background of information and the attitudes of the teachers who teach. Since any program which proposes that a different type of learning experience be used implies criticism of the methods now in use, it was necessary to study the problems related to the traditional methods of teaching mathematics to beginners.

The first chapter of the study deals with the background of the problem and considers societal pressures, particularly the pressures which impinge upon the young child. The second chapter directs attention to the research concerned with the mathematical understanding possessed by young children, the mathematical background of teachers, and the problems related to common methods of teaching beginning concepts in mathematics.

The third chapter is a resume of a portion of the current literature on intellectual development, particularly as it relates to the young child. The chapter concludes with the following postulates which should be considered in teaching young children: 1. Young children have an intrinsic motivation toward cognitive development. 2. For young children, language and sensory experience are basic to cognitive development. 3. Although young children tend to focus on or perceive only one aspect of a situation, they can be helped to perceive a broader dimension. 4. Young children can be helped to understand increasingly difficult mathematical ideas through use of manipulatory materials and directed conversation about the materials. 5. Varied experiences and materials are necessary if a concept is to reach any degree of depth and abstraction for children.

The fourth chapter is the culmination of the study--a program of suggested activities for teaching mathematical concepts in the kindergarten. Consideration is given to the following basic concepts: (1) set; (2) one-to-one correspondence; (3) the empty set; (4) subsets; (5) order; (6) base ten; (7) geometry. A section is included to show how the suggested activities do indeed carry out the postulates or principles established as a result of the study of concept development. Emphasis is given to the fact that these are only suggested activities; a teacher must always consider the individuals in her class in determining the type of activities to use. Attention is given to the limited nature of the suggestions; children need many more experiences than it would be possible to give in a study of this kind.

The thesis concludes with a fifth chapter which summarizes the study very briefly.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Education and Psychology

First Advisor

Esther M. Hult


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (163 pages)



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