Access to Meaningful Mathematics for Students with Disabilities in Early Childhood

Mathematical equity for students with disabilities means access to meaningful mathematical experiences. In this presentation, Dr. Rachel Lambert and Sara Lev will explore how we can create these opportunities in early childhood settings. Dr. Lambert will share the negative repercussions of deficit conceptions of the mathematical potential of disabled students. Drawing from neurodiversity and Disability Rights movements, we offer strengths-based conceptions of these learners which allow us to design around student strengths. We present a model for Universal Design for Learning in math in early childhood, highlighting a class Project Based Learning unit from Ms. Lev’s Transitional Kindergarten classroom. Students with disabilities deserve access to early mathematics experiences that are authentic, relevant, engaging, and support emotional and strategic development.

Presenters:

Dr. Rachel Lambert is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Special Education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her scholarship focuses on students with disabilities in inclusive mathematics classrooms. Her goal is to increase access to meaningful mathematical experiences for students with disabilities. Dr. Lambert spent over ten years as a classroom teacher, including roles as a general education teacher, a special education co-teacher, and a special education resource room teacher.

Dr. Rachel Lambert

Sara Lev has been an early childhood teacher in public, private and charter school settings since 2005, and currently teaches Transitional Kindergarten in Los Angeles.  Sara received her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York City. She is a member of the National Faculty of PBLWorks where she facilitates Project Based Learning workshops for educators PreK-12. Sara is the co-author of the book Implementing Project Based Learning in Early Childhood: Overcoming Misconceptions and Reaching Success (Routledge, 2020) and is a contributing author to the upcoming NCTM book Making Mathematics Come Alive in the Elementary Classroom with Project-Based Learning (edited by Jean S. Lee and Enrique Galindo, anticipated February 2021). She is currently developing multi-day workshops and trainings for teachers both nationally and internationally, supporting early childhood teachers as they plan projects for both in-person and distance learning. Sara brings her passion for working with young children to every teaching, learning, coaching, and consulting opportunity.

Sara Lev

California Early Math Project 2020