Spatial Reasoning Supports Preschool Numeracy: Findings From a Large-Scale Nationally Representative Randomized Control Trial

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Abstract

We assessed the efficacy of two spatial learning programs grounded in early years learning pedagogical theory to improve numeracy
performance in preschool. Engagement with a play-based spatial program led to better overall spatial reasoning and transferred to
better numeracy compared with a business-as-usual control, underscoring the importance of embedding spatial learning within
strong pedagogy and authentic preschool contexts. Engagement with the same spatial program using a spatialized curriculum (e.g.,
gesture, sketching) showed large additive effects, highlighting the role of spatial reasoning tools to support transfer of spatial
reasoning to numeracy. The effects of the two interventions were moderated by spatial reasoning, with children with lower spatial
reasoning making the most gains in numeracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-316
Number of pages22
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Volume54
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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