Our early math team is excited to be engaging with preschool teachers in thinking together about mathematics teaching and learning in preschool classrooms. One of the ways we have structured our work together is through the lens of partnership.

Think for a moment about what it means to work as a partner. What comes to mind? Can you think of partnerships you’ve been a part of? How would you characterize them?

We fully understand that each teacher, teacher aide, director, and researcher brings a set of understandings and experiences to this work. These differences –when acknowledged and valued– can contribute to a rich, fruitful interaction. Our goal is to forge a common agenda –one that makes use of the skills, expertise, and passion of all those involved.

In his book Unmistakable Impact, Jim Knight suggests that a partnership approach is an important way to think about working with others:

“Equality is central within any partnership. Partners do not decide for each other; they decide together. In a true partnership, one partner does not tell the other what to do; they discuss, dialogue, and then decide together. Partners realize they are one half of a whole, and in healthy partnerships they find that they are a lot smarter when they listen to their partner…when they recognize their partner as an equal” (p. 29).

This kind of partnership approach frames professional development not as training, but as professional learning with teachers. We look forward to learning together with our teaching partners and exploring ways to enrich the mathematical experiences of preschool children.

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