The research described here came from a collaboration between university-based mathematicians and early years (EY) educators. The project emerged naturally, driven by the felt need of the EY educators to develop a broader understanding and appreciation of mathematics so that they were able to expose the children to new, challenging and exciting ideas, and to engage with their mathematical curiosities. Every few weeks, the group of three EY educators and five academic mathematicians met over Zoom. Discussions in the meetings were wide-ranging, encompassing particular mathematical ideas or theorems, and more general concepts such as ‘When are two things the same?’ or ‘What is a theorem?’. The EY educators would give updates about any mathematical ideas or activities in nursery, or themes the children were exploring. The goal of the academics was to explore and extend the mathematical thinking the children were already doing, rather than to follow a particular schedule, or to teach the EY educators maths teaching methods or activities. The mathematicians were led by the EY staff, as they in turn were led by the children in their setting. The expertise of the EY educators is crucial, as they determine how best to use the content of the meetings with their particular children in their day-today work.
Oughton, R. H., Wheadon, D. M., Bolden, D. S., Nichols, K., Fearn, S., Darwin, S., …Townsend, A. (2023). Going round in circles: Geometry in the early years. Mathematics teaching, 286, 29-34