This study aims to explore in-service preschool teachers’ attitudes towards and beliefs about geometry and its teaching and to investigate their knowledge of shapes and solids. The study uses a mixed descriptive approach employing quantitative and qualitative research methods. Thirty-four Israeli preschool teachers of children aged 3-6 from 34 different preschools and kindergartens participated in the study and responded to a questionnaire comprised of closed and open items. Regarding their attitudes and beliefs, the preschool teachers were asked about: the meaning of geometry; affinity for geometry, importance of geometry; need to use accurate mathematical language, and about their enjoyment of engaging young children in activities connected with learning geometry. As to the knowledge of shapes and solids, the preschool teachers were asked to describe or define shapes and solids, name shapes and solids and distinguish between rectangles and other shapes. The results illustrate that most of the preschool teachers like geometry or expressed a neutral position towards geometry, but some hate geometry. Most of the preschool teachers comprehend the importance of engaging in activities that relate to geometry in preschool and enjoy involving young children in activities connected with learning geometry. As to the use of accurate language, most of the preschool teachers maintain that accurate mathematical language should be applied when preschool children aged 3-6 deal with shapes and solids. Yet, only about half of them believe that it is necessary to use accurate language when the children are at an earlier age. Certain preschool teachers lack the knowledge to name shapes and solids, even those which are part the mathematics curriculum for ages 3-6. They exhibited difficulties in using accurate mathematical language when describing shapes and solids, and were influenced by the shapes’ visual appearance rather than by their definitions and properties. It is recommended that preschool teachers attend further development programs so they can appropriately involve young children in activities connected to learning geometry, as required by the curriculum.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.