J. Escola, A.P. Aires, P. Catarino

Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
In the Portuguese education system, Kindergarten is the first stage of Basic Education (3-5 years old) - Early Childhood Education. Children's access to this offer is provided by private and public education institutions. The evolution of the system and the demographic breakdown of the last decades have allowed the expansion of the public offer, and to this extent it has played a central role in the democratization of the educational system.

The Curriculum Guidelines for Kindergarten, first published in 1997 (Law no. 5/1997 of 10 February), were recently amended in April 2016. Three content areas are still in that document: training personal and social area, communication and expression area and, finally, the area of knowledge of the world. In the last one the problem of scientific knowledge and technological development/progress is present, being also the area where the domain of mathematics is contemplated. The training of educators in Portugal is carried out in teaching masters only with the component of Early Childhood Education or combining Early Childhood Education and the teaching of the 1st Cycle of Basic Education (the so-called mixed masters).

Our research was carried out in a mixed master’s program (Kindergarten and 1st cycle of Basic Education) in a public institution of higher education in the north of Portugal. It was held in the second semester of the academic year 2016-17, between February and July 2017, in the context of the Supervised Teaching Practice (Internship) in Early Childhood Education and it was involved 15 trainees.
Although the internship takes place in the three content areas, in this research we focus on the area of knowledge in the world, specifically in the field of Mathematics. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the integration of educational resources at the stage of Early Childhood Education, specifically in the field of Mathematics, in the context of the Curricular Guidelines for this level of Education, which advise that the organization of the proposed activities to the children is done from a methodology of project work.

Taking into account the main objective of this research: to evaluate the performance of future educators of Childhood regarding the integration of educational resources of teaching for the teaching of Mathematics, a qualitative approach was chosen, following a case study design.

The context of this research was the 15 kindergarten rooms where the student stage was held in the academic year 2016-17.

Data collection instruments that have privileged were a non-participant observation, a document analysis and the portfolio that students have performed at the end of the stage. We also use the technique of content analysis to establish the categorization.

Processing information resorted to content analysis of the productions of the trainees, for which categories of analysis were prepared, these recursively defined taking into account the objectives of the study.

The preliminary analysis of the results indicates, in general, a very extensive use of educational resources in all activities carried out in the field of Mathematics, highlighting a very rich practice on the part of the trainees.