Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 133–148 | Cite as

Early childhood teacher education: the case of geometry

  • Douglas H. ClementsEmail author
  • Julie Sarama


For early childhood, the domain of geometry and spatial reasoning is an important area of mathematics learning. Unfortunately, geometry and spatial thinking are often ignored or minimized in early education. We build a case for the importance of geometry and spatial thinking, review research on professional development for these teachers, and describe a series of research and development projects based on this body of knowledge. We conclude that research-based models hold the potential to make a significant difference in the learning of young children by catalyzing substantive change in the knowledge and beliefs of their teachers.


Scaling up professional development Geometry Spatial reasoning Learning trajectories Early childhood 



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant No. R305K05157 to the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, D. H. Clements, J. Sarama, and J. Lee, “Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies.” Work on the research was also supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ESI-9730804 to D. H. Clements and J. Sarama “Building Blocks-Foundations for Mathematical Thinking, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2: Research-based Materials Development,” and the IERI under NSF Grant No. REC-0228440, “Scaling Up the Implementation of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curricula: Teaching for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies.” Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity at Buffalo, State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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