Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



The Mathematics Enthusiast, 2017, 14(1-3), 325-426.


Creativity is important for young children learning mathematics. However, much literature has claimed creativity in the learning of mathematics for young children is not adequately supported by teachers in the classroom due to such reasons as teachers’ poor college preparation in mathematics content knowledge, teachers’ negativity toward creative students, teachers’ occupational pressure, and low quality curriculum. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to generate a model that describes explains how a particular group of early childhood teachers make sense of creativity in the learning of mathematics and how they think they can promote or fail to promote creativity in the classroom. In-depth interviews with 30 K- to Grade-3 teachers, participating in a graduate mathematics specialist certificate program in a medium-sized Midwestern city, were conducted. In contrast to previous findings, these teachers did view mathematics in young children (age 5 to 9) as requiring creativity, in ways that aligned with Sternberg and Lubart’s (1995) investment theory of creativity. Teachers felt they could support creativity in student learning and knew strategies for how to promote creativity in their practices.