Teachers’ Interpretation of Mathematics Goals in Swedish Preschools

  • Laurence DelacourEmail author


The purpose of this chapter is to investigate how two preschool teachers interpret the mathematical goals outlined in the Swedish preschool curriculum. The ways in which these preschool teachers transform, clarify and concretise the mathematics goals are analysed. The data indicates a tendency towards two different approaches of interpreting and implementing mathematics: a comprehensive approach and an academic approach. Based on these preschool teachers’ interpretation and implementation of the mathematics goals, the consequences in the form of qualification, socialisation and subjectification will be discussed.


Curriculum implementation Mathematics Preschool Preschool teacher 


  1. Ahlberg, A. (2000). Att se utvecklingsmöjligheter i barns lärande. Matematik från början [To see developing opportunities in children’s learning. Mathematics from the beginning]. Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet. Nationellt centrum för ma-tematikutbildning.Google Scholar
  2. Alrø, H., & Johnsen-Høines, M. (2010). Critical dialogue in mathematics education. In H. Alrø, O. R. Christensen, & P. Valero (Eds.), Critical mathematics education: Past, present and future (pp. 11–22). Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  3. Aubrey, C., & Durmaz, D. (2012). Policy-to-practice contexts for early childhood mathematics in England. International Journal of Early Years Education, 20(1), 59–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barber, P. (2009, January 28 to February 1). Introduction. In V. Durand-Guerrier, S. Soury-Lavergne, & F. Arzarello (Eds.), Proceedings of the sixth congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Lyon, France (pp. 2535–2536). Institut National de Recherche Pèdagogique. Retrieved from
  5. Bäckman, K. (2016). Children’s play as a starting point for teaching shapes and patterns in the preschool. In T. Meaney, T. Lange, A. Wernberg, O. Helenius, & M. L. Johansson (Eds.), Mathematics education in the early years—Results from the POEM2 conference, 2014. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Bertrand, J. (2007). Preschool programs: Effective curriculum. Comments on Kagan and Kauerz and on Schweinhart. In Encyclopedia on early childhood development, Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood. Montreal: Development and Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development.
  7. Biesta, G. (2011). God utbildning i mätningens tidevarv [Good education in an age of measurement]. Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  8. Björklund, C. (2007). Hållpunkter för lärande: småbarns möten med matematik [Hold Points for Learning: Toddlers meeting with mathematics]. Dissertation, Åbo Akademis förlag, Åbo.Google Scholar
  9. Björklund, C. (2016). Playing with patterns: Conclusions from a learning study with toddlers. In T. Meaney, T. Lange, A. Wernberg, O. Helenius, & M. L. Johansson (Eds.), Mathematics education in the early years—Results from the POEM2 conference, 2016. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Bryman, A. (2011). Samhällsvetenskapliga metoder [Social scientific methods]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, J. Q., & McCray, J. (2014). Intentional teaching: Integrating the processes of instruction and construction to promote quality early mathematics education. In C. Benz, B. Brandt, U. Kortenkamp, G. Krummheuer, S. Ladel, & R. Vogel (Eds.), Mathematics education perspective on early mathematics learning between the poles of instruction and construction (pp. 257–274). New York: Springer.
  12. Delacour, L. (2013). Didaktiska kontrakt i Förskolepraktik. Förskollärares transformering av matematiska mål i ett läroplansdidaktiskt perspektiv [Didactic contract in Early Childhood Practice. Preschool teachers’ transformation of mathematical objectives in a curriculum didactic perspective]. Doctoral dissertation, Malmö University, Malmö.Google Scholar
  13. Deliyianni, E., Monoyiou, A., Elia, I., Georgiou, C., & Zannettou, E. (2009). Pupils’ visual representations in standard and problematic problem solving in mathematics: Their role in the breach of the didactical contract. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 17(1), 95–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doverborg, E., & Pramling Samuelsson, I. (1999). Förskolebarn i matematikens värld [Preschoolers in a mathematical world]. Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  15. Doverborg, E., & Pramling Samuelsson, I. (2011). Early mathematics in the preschool context. In N. Pramling & I. Pramling Samuelsson (Eds.), Education encounters: Nordic studies in early childhood didactics (pp. 37–64). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duncan, G., Dowserr, C., Claessens, A., Magnusson, K., Huston, A., Klebanov, P., Pagani, L., Feinstein, L., Engel, K., & Gunn, B. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428–1446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eurydice. (2009). Early childhood education and care in Europe: Tackling social and cultural inequalities. Brussels: Eurydice.Google Scholar
  18. Government Offices, Department of Education, working group (U 2010: A). Promemoria, 2010-06-24, U2010/4443/S. Electronically available 2013-02-14.Google Scholar
  19. Hildebrandt, C., & Zan, B. (2002). Using group games to teach mathematics. In R. DeVries (Ed.), Developing constructivist early childhood curriculum: Practical principles and activities (pp. 193–208). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jonsson, A. (2011). Nuets Didaktik—Förskolans lärare talar om läroplan för de yngsta [The present’s didactics—Preschool teacher talk about the curriculum for the youngest]. Dissertation, Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande, Göteborgs universitet.Google Scholar
  21. Lembrér, D., & Meaney, T. (2014). Socialisation tensions in the Swedish preschool curriculum: The case of mathematics. Educare: Vetenskapliga Skrifter, 2014(2), 89–106.Google Scholar
  22. Linde, G. (2006). Det ska ni veta! En introduktion till läroplansteori [That you shall know! An introduction to curriculum theory]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  23. Ma, Y. (2012). An analysis of the characteristics and strategies of the excellent teachers in mathematics lessons in primary school. In Regular lecture 12th international congress on mathematical education, COEX, Seoul, Korea. Available from
  24. OECD. (2006). Starting strong II: Early childhood education and care. Paris: OECD. doi: 10.1787/9789264035461-en.Google Scholar
  25. OECD. (2012). Starting strong III: A quality toolbox for early childhood education and care. Electronically available, 14 Feb 2013.
  26. OECD. (2013). PISA 2012 results: What students know and can do: Students performance in mathematics, reading and science (Vol. 1). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  27. Pianta, R. C., Barnett, W. S., Burchinal, M., & Thornburg, K. R. (2009). The effects of preschool education: What we know, how public policy is or is not aligned with the evidence base, and what we need to know. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10(2), 49–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pramling, N., & Pramling Samuelsson, I. (2011). Educational encounters: Nordic studies in early childhood didactics. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Prentice, R. (2000). Creativity: A reaffirmation of its place in early childhood education. The Curriculum Journal, 11(2), 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Roth, A.-C. V. (2011). De yngre barnens läroplanshistoria—didaktik, dokumentation och bedömning i förskola [The younger children’s curriculum history—didactics, documentation and assessment in preschool (2nd ed.). Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  31. Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Muttock, S., Gilden, R., & Bell, D. (2002). Researching effective pedagogy in the early years (DfES Research Report 356). London: DfES.Google Scholar
  32. Taguma, M., Litjens, I., & Makowiecki, K. (2012). Quality matters in early childhood education and care: Finland. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  33. The National Agency for Education [Skolverket]. (2010). Förskola i utveckling, bakgrund till ändringar i förskolans läroplan [Preschool in development, background to the changes in the preschool curriculum]. Solna: Åtta 45.Google Scholar
  34. Thulin, S. (2011). Lärares tal och barns nyfikenhet. Kommunikation om na-turvetenskapliga innehåll i förskolan [Teacher talk and children’s curiosity. Communication about science content in preschool]. Dissertation, Växjö University Press, Växjö.Google Scholar
  35. Uljens, M. (2011). Didaktik (didactic). Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations