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Supporting Spatial Thinking in Early Childhood
Spatial thinking skills are critical for lifelong learning in STEM. In this breakout session, we will discuss how educators can support infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in developing important spatial thinking concepts and skills. After watching a video together of young children engaging in spatial thinking through everyday activities and play, we will discuss how educators can support children in developing the spatial thinking concepts and skills that they need to be successful. We will also share some of the resources that the California Statewide Early Math Initiative (CAEMI) is developing for trainers, coaches, and educators as part of the CAEMI online professional development suites.
Sophie Savelkouls is a Research Associate at WestEd with expertise in children’s early math development. Currently, she leads the development of online professional development resources and suites for the California Statewide Early Math Initiative. Additionally, she has worked on developing state standards and foundations in cognition and early math. Prior to joining WestEd, Dr. Savelkouls conducted research on young children’s understanding of number and math and published her research in peer-reviewed journals. She received a PhD in developmental psychology from Boston College. In her spare time, Dr. Savelkouls enjoys salsa dancing, going on hikes with her pup, and puzzling.
Madhu Govind Kapoor is a Research Associate at WestEd and contributes to content development and evaluation work for the California Statewide Early Math Initiative. Her areas of expertise include early childhood technology, teacher and family engagement around early STEM learning, and teacher professional development. Prior to joining WestEd, Dr. Kapoor taught middle school math, developed early STEM curricula and professional learning resources, and conducted research on young children’s engagement with robotics and play-based computational thinking tools. She received a PhD in Child Study & Human Development from Tufts University. In her spare time, Dr. Kapoor enjoys dancing, crafting, traveling, and spending time with family.
Madhu Govind Kapoor