We thank Katrina Ferrara, Melissa Hansen, and Shana Ramsook for their help with data collection. This research was supported, in part, by grants from the National Science Foundation's Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center SBE-0541957 and Temple University.
Taking Shape: Supporting Preschoolers' Acquisition of Geometric Knowledge Through Guided Play
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Child Development © 2013 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 6, pages 1872–1878, November/December 2013
How to Cite
Fisher, K. R., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. and Golinkoff, R. M. (2013), Taking Shape: Supporting Preschoolers' Acquisition of Geometric Knowledge Through Guided Play. Child Development, 84: 1872–1878. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12091
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2013
- National Science Foundation's Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center. Grant Number: SBE-0541957
- Temple University
Shape knowledge, a key aspect of school readiness, is part of early mathematical learning. Variations in how children are exposed to shapes may affect the pace of their learning and the nature of their shape knowledge. Building on evidence suggesting that child-centered, playful learning programs facilitate learning more than other methods, 4- to 5-year-old children (N = 70) were taught the properties of four geometric shapes using guided play, free play, or didactic instruction. Results revealed that children taught shapes in the guided play condition showed improved shape knowledge compared to the other groups, an effect that was still evident after 1 week. Findings suggest that scaffolding techniques that heighten engagement, direct exploration, and facilitate “sense-making,” such as guided play, undergird shape learning.