Matematiskt gestaltande i förskolan

Bäckman, K.
Åbo Akademi


The overall purpose of this dissertation is to examine how preschool teachers (förskollärare) work with mathematics in preschools (förskolan). The dissertation investigates preschool teachers’ perception of their work with mathematics from two perspectives. The first perspective studies preschool children’s use of mathematics, and how children show their mathematical understanding. The second perspective focuses on the preschool teachers’ intentions with and perceptions of their mathematical work, and the knowledge that preschool teachers are believed to require in their teaching of mathematics.


The study reports a large number of research results. When analysing the children’s mathematical formation, the researcher found two dominant main categories in the analysis: (1) exploring mathematics through play, and (2) children compare their experiences. The category ’Exploring mathematics through play’ can be further divided into five subcategories: experiencing volume, exploring geometrical shapes, discerning weight, discerning quantity and acting for positioning. The category ‘Children comparing their experiences’ is illustrated by the following four subcategories: experiencing and comparing size, creating and comparing patterns, comparing proportions, and finally counting and pair production. The study finds that children’s mathematical formation often takes place in interactions with friends and with the support of artefacts. The various preschool contexts of which  children are part on a daily basis offer a range of possibilities for exploring and discerning mathematical concepts, comparing concepts and using mathematics as a tool — e.g. multiplication tables for counting.

The author therefore concludes that mathematical content is already part of the children’s activities. The children have their own intentions when they explore, compare and learn mathematics from each other in everyday situations.

Furthermore, the researcher finds that the preschool teachers stage their mathematical work both as planned activities and as unplanned here-and-now situations, and that the teachers’ intentions are to make mathematical content visible to all children. If the activities are planned, it is essential that the children and the teachers focus their attention on the same content.



Data collection was based on video footage and interviews with a total of 19 preschool teachers from seven preschools. The video footage comprised observations of preschool teachers’ use of mathematics in the children’s own activities as well as in planned activities and unplanned here-and-now situations. The videos were recorded using either a handheld camera or a camera on a tripod placed in the room. The interviews illustrate the preschool teachers’ perception of their daily work routines, as well as their systematic work with planned activities involving mathematics.


Bäckman, K. (2015). Matematiskt gestaltande i förskolan. Åbo Akademi.

Financed by

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