CT in kindergarten


  • The aim of this research is to explore CT in young children’s spontaneous play and the pedagogical practices that might advance a child’s CT at the very start of formal school.
  • Given that the focus of this research is kindergarten-aged children, this research is poised to make foundational contributions to our understanding of the developmental progression of CT.
  • There are three research questions guiding this work:
    1. How do teachers notice, name, and nurture CT in kindergarten?
    2. Do children exhibit CT during spontaneous play?
    3. Does an explicit focus on CT improve mathematical or spatial reasoning in young children?



  • To explore the first question, the teachers and the ECEs will participate in six to eight professional development (PD) seminars over the duration of the study.
  • The aim of the PD will be to (a) learn about CT, (b) learn about the pedagogical phases of CT (Kotsopoulos et al., Forthcoming), (c) explore instances of CT occurring in the classroom, and (d) develop CT learning tasks.
  • Pedagogical documentation will be used to capture and analyze children’s CT.
  • The second and third questions will be explored during the second year of the research.
  • Teachers will engage in real-time observation and application of the pedagogical phases of CT to analyze the extent to which children engage in spontaneous productions of CT and to determine whether an intentional application of the pedagogical phases of CT enhances a child’s mathematical or spatial thinking.
  • Consequently, in the second year of the research children will also engage in standardized testing at the beginning and the end of the school year to explore the extent to which an explicit focus on CT enhanced their learning.
  • Pedagogical documentation will again be used in the second year by teachers and ECEs and also by students to document their own thinking.


  • The research questions will be explored over two years (2016 – 2018).


  • Four to six kindergarten teachers, their partner early childhood educators (ECEs), and their students.