1st Edition

Joyful Math Invitations to Play and Explore in the Early Childhood Classroom

By Deanna Pecaski McLennan Copyright 2020

    If you've ever wished that learning math could be more joyful and playful for young learners, you're not alone. In Joyful Math: Invitations to Play and Explore in the Early Childhood Classroom, kindergarten teacher Deanna Pecaski McLennan opens her classroom doors to share the practical, yet innovative ways she integrates mathematical play throughout the school day. Each chapter of this easy-to-navigate, photo-filled book focuses on specific strategies, activities and examples of mathematical play within literacy, art, and outdoor explorations. Inside Joyful Mathyou'll find:

    • A photo guide, including suggested tools and materials, to setting up a classroom environment and space that fosters mathematical curiosity and joy
    • Dozens of open-ended and teacher-guided mathematical activities that are simple to set up and full of mathematical possibility
    • Practical tips for including mathematical play across the day
    • Suggestions and examples of ways to document and share children's learning experiences with families and communities
    Joyful Math will inspire educators to make space for joy and play in early childhood mathematics and give them the tools to make this vision a reality.

    Chapter 1: Discovering the Joy in Math; Chapter 2: Creating an Environment Filled with Mathematical Possibility; Chapter 3: Exploring Math Through Art; Chapter 4: Playing with Literacy and Math; Chapter 5: Bringing Math Learning Outdoors; Chapter 6: Using Documentation to Honor Children's Math Experiences


    Deanna Pecaski McLennan, Ph.D., is a passionate full-day kindergarten educator, researcher and writer from Southern Ontario, Canada who has spent over twenty years working with young children. Deanna has authored more than thirty articles for number early childhood education journals. She has devoted her research and practice to exploring the potential for rich mathematics learning through playful inquiry and exploration. Integrating math into the arts and outdoor learning is a favourite activity!Deanna is also a mom to three children and knows firsthand the important of supporting and improving their confidence, fluency and accuracy in mathematics. Deanna has spent the last several years transforming her classroom into a safe and supportive space where children can take risks without the use of rigid programming, rote practice, or worksheets. Deanna believes that educators benefit from sharing their journeys with one another and actively uses reflective writing, technology and social media to connect with others from around the world. She sees herself a life-long learner and spends her free time reading, exercising and playing with her dog Harlow.

    "This is so much more than a math book. It's about a kindergarten teacher who is confident in her teaching, passing on sensible suggestions and practical advice to others who are looking to create interesting, engaging learning environments for their children, outside and in. It contains nuggets of commentary that are an inspiration and a joy to read. It's a reflective narrative of how Deanna integrates math into her everyday life of the class in meaningful and respectful ways based upon the principles and practice of the Reggio Emilia approach."
    —Juliet Robertson, author of Messy Maths: A Playful, Outdoor Approach for Early Years "In this beautiful book, Deanna McLennan shows us how teachers can create an environment for children to engage in mathematical play and learning with joy, curiosity, and discovery. Teachers will welcome these wonderfully authentic invitations to bring joyful playful math into their classrooms throughout the day."
    —Katie Keier, kindergarten teacher and co-author of Catching Readers Before They Fall: Supporting Readers Who Struggle, K–4 "Deanna shows us that math can bring joy! Written to support play-based math learning for young children in clear and concise language, this colorfully illustrated text is all you need to give the gift of math to children. When math is connected to children's play it becomes real, meaningful, authentic, and joyful for children and their teachers."
    —Dr. Diane Kashin, RECE, retired early childhood education professor, co-author of Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education "What if all children had joyful math experiences in their earliest years? You may be wondering what would that look like and where do I start. Read Joyful Math and step inside Deanna McLennan's masterful, joy-filled kindergarten classroom. Here the natural curiosity, inventiveness, and exuberance of children is harnessed for deep mathematical learning through exploration and play. Deanna respectfully shares with teachers the methods she has developed over the years to surpass mathematical standards without leaving joy to chance. Rich with stories, conversations with children, and awe-inspiring photographs, Joyful Math is a game-changer for the early childhood math landscape."
    —Katie Egan Cunningham, author of Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness "Deanna's book provides a window into an early childhood classroom, sharing stories of young children's mathematics learning. The mathematics is embedded in a place of wonder, joy, and collaboration, full of playful learning with materials. The classroom stories share a joyful approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics which is sure to both inspire and provide a wealth of ideas for educators."
    —Janice Novakowski, District Teacher Consultant (Mathematics) in Richmond, BC, Canada and coordinator of the BC Reggio-Inspired Mathematics Project