About M4YC

In 2011-2012, researchers from Trent University (led by Cathy Bruce) and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (led by Joan Moss) facilitated a lesson study project in Ontario, Canada. Participants in the lesson study project included teachers of junior kindergarten through grade 2 (ages 3-8). Nine small groups of teachers (n=52) participated in lesson study, a professional development approach (based on Japanese Lesson Study) in which teachers co-plan lessons and closely observe children’s mathematics thinking (Perry, Lewis & Murata, 2006). Lesson study is a teacher-directed, collaborative model for professional learning where teams pick their research topic based on issues of classroom concern. In mathematics, it is critical that teams investigate specific content areas (number sense, patterning or geometry are some examples).

In the course of this project, teachers and researchers planned exploratory lessons to inform the planning and enactment of public research lessons, and used video to help capture student responses and inform next steps. Several teams came from schools where Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten classes had been implemented; in those rooms the teaching team included the Early Childhood Educator as well as the classroom teacher, engaging in collaborative research for the first time. The purpose of this study was to work with teachers to:

  • identify the strategies that kindergarten-grade 2 teachers use for exploring mathematics concepts with students;
  • identify how play-based programming supports student understanding;
  • investigate the teacher content knowledge required to support this learning; and,
  • develop a greater understanding of student learning trajectories in mathematics for young children. The early outcomes of this work question whether play-based contexts and mathematics instruction need be mutually exclusive and examine how these pedagogies can inform one another through an integrated approach with close attention to observing, documenting, and enabling student learning.