Megan Franke talks it over with preschool teachers.

Teaching the teachers: Early math resources for teacher educators

By Dr. Megan L. Franke, UCLA

Recent media attention has shined a spotlight on the importance of early childhood education. We know that children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences. We also know that the training and professional development of teachers is an important effectiveness factor present in the most successful preschool programs. Providing opportunities for preschool teachers to learn about the teaching of mathematics is critical both as they prepare and as they continue to teach.

The important role of teacher educators

Teacher educators like myself play a critical role in influencing the quality of early learning experiences. We work to prepare and equip the teachers who interact with young children each day. Yet knowing how best to support preschool teachers in their development as professionals can be challenging. We often need to figure out on our own what to do and how to do it, searching for materials, piecing together resources, and experimenting with methods.

As a mathematics educator, I’m especially attuned to the need for quality resources for the teaching and learning of mathematics. How can a teacher educator best support teachers in engaging their young students around mathematics in ways that build on children’s strengths and interests? How can we help teachers develop mathematical learning opportunities that are based in students’ ongoing activity? And how do we prepare teachers to create mathematically rich classroom spaces that support children’s mathematical development?

DREME TE: Research-based, flexible, easy to use

Our team of DREME network members and affiliates have drawn upon research and our own experience to create activities that support preschool teacher learning. Many of these materials are currently staples of our own preschool curriculum courses and professional development institutes.

DREME TE is designed to be flexible and easy to use. Appropriate for both prospective and practicing teachers, these resources can be used in a variety of settings, from a professional development workshop to part of a general preservice methods course. Teacher educators can pick and choose resources to complement their existing needs.

DREME TE resources

Below are links to a sampling of available resources. I encourage you to explore the DREME TE website and visit often, as we continue to add new materials.

I think of DREME TE as the beginning of the conversation. My hope is that teacher educators will find these resources helpful, and will use them and share them in ways that best meet the needs of their participants.

To receive notification of new DREME TE materials, please sign up here.

Megan L. Franke is a member of the DREME Network and a professor at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on understanding and supporting teacher learning. She is particularly interested in how teaching mathematics with attention to students and their mathematical thinking can create opportunities for low-income students of color to learn mathematics with understanding. Dr. Franke is the co-author of Young Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction in Early Childhood Education.

In addition to Dr. Franke, the DREME TE team includes Herbert Ginsburg (Columbia University), Linda Platas (San Francisco State University), Deborah Stipek (Stanford University), and Angela Chan Turrou (University of California, Los Angeles).

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DREME Network

DREME Network

A network of scholars in early math education, conducting research & developing materials to promote young children’s math learning. https://dreme.stanford.edu