Original Research

Visual arts and the teaching of the mathematical concepts of shape and space in Grade R classrooms

Dianne Wilmot, Jean Schäfer
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 1 | a350 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i1.350 | © 2015 Dianne Wilmot, Jean Schäfer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2015 | Published: 04 September 2015

About the author(s)

Dianne Wilmot, Rhodes University, South Africa
Jean Schäfer, Rhodes University

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This article addresses the need for research in the areas of Grade R curriculum and pedagogy, Grade R teacher professional development, and early years mathematics teaching. More specifically, it responds to the need for teacher professional development in Grade R mathematics teaching of the geometric concepts of space and shape. The article describes a study about teachers’ understanding of how visual arts can be used as pedagogical modality. The study was prompted by the findings of a ‘Maths and Science through Arts and Culture Curriculum’ intervention undertaken with Grade R teachers enrolled for a Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase) degree at a South African university. Post-intervention, teachers’ classroom practices did not change, and they were not using visual arts to teach mathematical concepts. The lessons learned from the research intervention may contribute to the wider debate about Grade R teaching and children’s learning.


visual arts, constructivist learning theories, shape and space concepts, emergent curriculum, reflective practice, kindergarten geometry


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