Date of Award:

1997

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Ann M. Berghout Austin

Abstract

The study examined the frequency of preschool mathematics activities at home and in the family child care setting. Provider perception and parent perception of the activities were also surveyed. Twenty-one family child care providers, 38 parents, and 42 preschool children participated in the study. Providers and parents participated in a telephone interview in which they completed either the Day Care Activities Checklist (DAC) or the Parent/Child Activities Checklist (PCAC). Research assistants administered the TEMA-2, a mathematical assessment suitable for preschool children, to the children in the study.

Family child care providers in this study reported engaging in mathematics activities statistically significantly more frequently than did parents. Providers offered mathematics activities about once or twice during the week while parents offered these activities less frequently. Three mathematics activities (provided help in saying numbers past 10, did simple addition with props, and assisted the children in writing numbers) yielded statistically significant differences in weekly frequency. However, for six of the activities there were no statistically significant differences in presentation. The most frequently occurring response for mathematics activities for both groups was "Did not occur this week."

Parents and providers could discriminate mathematics activities from other activities with about the same accuracy. Chi-square tests did not result in a statistically significant discrepancy in the ability of providers and parents to discriminate either the total mathematics activities or individual activities on the DAC and PCAC. The total frequency of mathematics activities with the TEMA-2 Mathematics Quotient MQ for either the parent or provider group did not result in a statistically significant correlation. These two variables resulted in a negative correlation for the provider group but not the parent group. More experts in this study rated the reading or other-play activities as developmentally appropriate when compared to mathematics activities.

Providers in this study reported offering more mathematics activities than parents. This difference was statistically significant. Both groups discriminated mathematics activities from other play activities with about the same accuracy. The frequency of mathematics activities as reported on the DAC or the PCAC when correlated with TEMA-2 MQ scores for either the provider or parent group was not statistically significant. More experts in this study rated the reading or other-play activities as developmentally appropriate when compared to mathematics activities. The information gained from this research project will be beneficial in designing and implementing mathematics resources that are suitable for use for preschool children in the home and the family child care setting.

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