Self-Regulation and Early Geometric Skills in Young Learners ￼
May 30 2022
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Mathematics and Geometry in Early Childhood
“Early mathematical skills are important for young children as such skills establish a foundation for later mathematics learning and are predictive of later school success.”1,2 More specifically, “young children’s abilities to engage in geometric thought and spatial reasoning can support their overall mathematical and cognitive development”.3 Key aspects of geometry in the early grades include:
- Naming, comparing, and drawing geometric shapes
- Describing characteristics of and establishing relationships between shapes
- Composing, decomposing, and manipulating geometric figures
Self-Regulation and Geometry Skills
Self-regulation skills play a foundational role in learning and early mathematics. While a large body of research supports the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics, most of this research has focused on numbers and operations rather than geometry.
Given the importance of geometry for young children, the present study investigated the relationship between early geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation skills. Participants included 202 children between the ages of 5 and 6. Trained undergraduate students administered direct measures of self-regulation and geometric skills scales to children. The mothers and teachers were asked to fill in the self-regulation skills scales on behalf of their children. The following aspects of self-regulation were measured:
- Working memory (e.g., remembers the plans made or instructions given)
- Inhibitory control (e.g., identify causes and consequences of others’ feelings; expresses feelings and thoughts)
- Attention (e.g., follows rules even if they delay pleasure or conflict with his/her wishes.
Findings from this study include:
- “Teacher-reported self-regulation skills were positively correlated with geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation.”
- “Higher behavioral and teacher-reported self-regulation skills of children were effective in determining the children who were in the higher geometric skills group.”
- “A weak association among mother-reported self regulation skills, age and income with geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation skills.”
- A significant relationship existed between age and self-regulation, but not between income levels.
Implications for practitioners include:
- Teachers should know how to effectively support and incorporate self-regulation skills in the context of geometry experiences in early childhood settings (e.g., representing shapes through different media, drawing and constructing structures with blocks).
- “Policy makers should prioritize and facilitate the implementation of self-regulation intervention programs and early mathematics curriculum with a strong emphasis on geometry tasks in early childhood classrooms.”
İvrendi, A., Erol, A., & Atan, A. (2021). Children’s geometric skills: Any ties to self-regulation skills?. The Journal of Educational Research, 1-10.
Summary by: Ashley M. Parnell — Ashley strives to apply the MARIO Framework to build evidence-based learning environments that support student engagement, empowerment, and passion, and is working with a team of educators to grow and share this framework with other educators.
- Ivrendi, A. (2016). Investigating kindergarteners number sense and self-regulation score in relation to their mathematics and Turkish scores in middle school. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 28(3), 405–420. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-016-0172-4
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) & the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2010).Early childhood mathematics: Promoting good beginnings. [Online] Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/psmath.pdf
- Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Swaminathan, S., Weber, D., & Trawick-Smith, J. (2018). Teaching and learning geometry: Early foundations. Quadrante, 27(2), 7-31.