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Development of geometrical competences in early childhood

Project of the former Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity
IWM budget resources
DIPF budget resources
Leibniz-Forschungsverbund Bildungspotentiale (LERN)
Project description

Mathematics is also denoted the science of structures and patterns. This fact becomes obvious when considering geometric forms and figures. When children first engage in games with, for instance, building blocks or puzzles during early childhood, they are already dealing with such basic geometric patterns and structures. The project “Development of geometrical competences in early childhood” aimed at investigating how basic geometrical skills develop and how they may be trained successfully in kindergarten.

Over the past years, extensive research effort has been dedicated to identifying the foundations of successful development of numerical and arithmetical competences. However, knowledge on the development of geometrical competences is comparatively patchy. On a basic level, it is assumed that the acquisition of Euclidean geometry is based on two distinct, innate, cognitive core systems. One of these two systems is assumed to support large-scale navigation in physical space whereas the other system allows for identifying the shapes of small-scale, moveable objects.

Based on this theoretical perspective, the project aimed at investigating which prerequisites corroborate the acquisition of basic geometrical competences such as identifying and categorizing geometrical forms as well as navigating through physical space. Additionally, the project aimed at evaluating how these competences may be trained effectively in early childhood education. As there is evidence pointing to a connection between spatial and numerical information processing, the project finally investigated whether training basic geometrical competences leads to transfer effects to numerical and arithmetical competences.

  • Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn, Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF), Geschäftsführender Direktor

  • Prof. Dr. Aiso Heinze, Leibniz-Institut für die Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik (IPN), Abteilung Didaktik der Mathematik

  • Prof. Dr. Jan Lonnemann, Universität Potsdam, Lehrstuhl für Empirische Kindheitsforschung

  • Prof. Dr. Christine Schiltz, University of Luxembourg, Institute of Cognitive Science and Assessment, Research unit Education, Culture, Cognition and Society