Growing Mathematical Minds is the documentation of an innovative, bi-directional process of connecting research and practice in early childhood mathematics. The book translates research on early mathematics from developmental psychology into terms that are meaningful to teachers and readily applicable in early childhood classrooms. It documents teacher responses, and conveys their thoughts and questions back to representative researchers, who reply in turn. In so doing, this highly useful book creates a conversation, in which researchers and teachers each bring their expertise to bear; their communication about these topics—informed by the thinking, commitment, and experience of both groups—helps us better understand how developmental psychology can improve math teaching, and how math teaching can, in turn, inform developmental science. The book bridges the gap between research and practice, helping teachers to adopt evidence-based practices and apply cutting-edge research findings, and prompting developmental researchers to consider their work within the framework of practice. Growing Mathematical Minds identifies and elucidates research with profound implications for teaching children from three to eight years so they develop foundational math knowledge and skills, positive attitudes toward math, and basic abilities to think mathematically.
"Growing Mathematical Minds is a remarkable, lucid, and inviting introduction to early math education. The book offers prominent researchers’ accounts of their own fundamental work on children’s mathematical thinking, as well teachers’ comments on the research and suggestions about the ways it can be used to inform classroom practice. The book truly helps both researchers and teachers to bridge the sometimes considerable gap between theory and practice, in part by listening and responding to each other."
—Herbert Ginsburg, Jacob H. Schiff Foundations Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA
"With this book, Dr. McCray and her co-authors do a real service both to educators and to researchers in the field of early mathematics learning. There is now so much to know about early math education that we spend our careers becoming experts in just one thing: We either know how to teach math, or we know how to do research on it. But because teachers and researchers don’t spend much time in each other’s worlds, a gulf arises. Math researchers (like me) want our work to be useful, but we don’t actually know what teachers need. Teachers want to stay up to date on the relevant research, but much of that research is embargoed behind paywalls-- and even if it weren’t, what teacher has time to read through it all to figure out what’s relevant? In this book, Dr. McCray and her co-authors have boiled the current research down to its most important insights, and presented them in a way that is immediately usable in classrooms. This is the missing link that we all need, in order to reach our shared goal of using research to improve early math education."
—Barbara Sarnecka, Associate Professor, Cognitive Sciences and Logic & Philosophy of Science, University of California, Irvine, USA
Introduction: Briding the Gap Between Research and Practice in Early Mathematics Jie-Qi Chen, Jennifer S. McCray, and Janet Eisenband Sorkin Chapter 1: Mathematical Language and Early Math Learning Janet Eisenband Sorkin and Jennifer S. McCray with Susan Levine Chapter 2: The Role of Adult and Environmental Input in Children’s Math Learning Donna Johnson & Lisa Ginet with Kelly Mix Chapter 3: The Use of Concrete Objects in Early Mathematical Learning Jie-Qi Chen and Jeanine Brownell with David Uttal Chapter 4: The Role of Gesture in Teaching and Learning Math Mary Hynes-Berry and Jennifer S. McCray with Susan Goldin-Meadow Chapter 5: Variability in Children’s Mathematical Thinking and Learning Laura Grandau and Rebeca Itzkowich with Robert Siegler Chapter 6: Pathways to Basic Combination Fluency in the Primary Grades Jeanine O’Nan Brownell & Mary Hynes-Berry with Arthur J. Baroody Chapter 7: Math Anxiety and Math Performance: How do they relate? Lisa Ginet and Rebeca Itzkowich with Erin Maloney Conclusion Jennifer S. McCray, Janet Eisenband Sorkin, and Jie-Qi Chen