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Early Childhood Teachers' Misconceptions about Mathematics Education for Young Children in the United States


Australasian Journal of Early Childhood Volume 34, Number 4, ISSN 1836-9391


In this article we discuss nine common misconceptions about learning and teaching mathematics for young children that are widespread among prospective and practicing early childhood teachers in the United States. These misconceptions include: 1. Young children are not ready for mathematics education; 2. Mathematics is for some bright kids with mathematics genes; 3. Simple numbers and shapes are enough; 4. Language and literacy are more important than mathematics; 5. Teachers should provide an enriched physical environment, step back, and let the children play; 6. Mathematics should not be taught as a stand-alone subject matter; 7. Assessment in mathematics is irrelevant when it comes to young children; 8. Children learn mathematics only by interacting with concrete objects; 9. Computers are inappropriate for the teaching and learning of mathematics. These misconceptions often interfere with understanding and interpreting the new recommendations of early childhood mathematics education (NAEYC & NCTM, 2002), and become subtle (and sometimes overt) obstacles to implementing the new practices in the classrooms. We hope this article provides an opportunity for practitioners to examine and reflect on their own beliefs in order to become more effective and proactive early childhood mathematics teachers.


Lee, J.S. & Ginsburg, H.P. (2009). Early Childhood Teachers' Misconceptions about Mathematics Education for Young Children in the United States. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 37-45. Retrieved May 28, 2022 from .

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