Geometry in Early Childhood – Podcast Episode 139 | Classnotes Podcast 139

Classnotes Podcast (May 7, 2014) Often, we think of preschool children learning their shapes rather than learning geometry. But of course that is what they are doing. But we can make that learning of geometry so much deeper through the use of storytelling. In this podcast episode, Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., an IDRA senior education associate, describes how storytelling can help students make observations, apply that knowledge to real-world experiences and build critical thinking skills.

She uses one of IDRA’s bilingual Semillitas de Aprendizaje stories, Dos Pollitas Listas ~ Two Smart Chicks, as a model to show how the stories go beyond literacy development to make connections to STEM learning. Nilka is interviewed by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA senior education associate.

Show length: 14:01

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Dos Pollitas Listas ~ Shaping up with Geometry, PowerPoint presentation. 
Adapted from a presentation at the National Migrant Education Conference, April 9, 2014

Dos Pollitas Listas ~ Shaping up with Geometry from IDRAedu


Building Interest in STEM through Language Development and Storytelling
Juanita García, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter, January 2014

Semillitas de Aprendizaje
Semillitas de aprendizaje is a unique bilingual (Spanish/English) set of early childhood materials by the Intercultural Development Research Association that is based on the art of storytelling. Semillitas de aprendizaje focuses on literacy development and has culturally-relevant materials for 3- and 4-year-old children. The series includes a set of 10 big books, a set of 10 corresponding small readers, cartitas series – letters home with family activities, a set of 15 preschool math and self concept books, and a curriculum for teachers. The big books are the first in series available for purchase.
See more at:

Using Semillitas de aprendizaje™ in the Early Childhood Classroom
Juanita García, Ph.D., and Rosana G. Rodríguez, IDRA Newsletter, April 2011

Hickory, Dickory, Dock…Critical Thinking and an Old Clock: Cultivating Thought with a Timeless Children’s Story
Juanita García, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter, January 2009

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Show Notes

  • Nilka summarizes the story, Dos Pollitas Listas ~ Two Smart Chicks. She explains both how the book fits into Semillitas de Aprendizaje, IDRA’s bilingual supplemental early childhood curriculum, and how the story can be expanded as a geometry lesson for young children.

  • Nilka describes how emotional storytelling taps into students’ personal experiences and stimulates critical thinking. As a result, they incorporate the figures and shapes they’re learning about into their own dramatic recreations and retelling of the story.

  • Nilka discusses how knowledge of math concepts transfers across languages, without having to be relearned in the second language.

  • Nilka notes how STEM themes are woven into other Semillitas de Aprendizaje stories, including El Collar de Margarita ~ Margarita’s Necklace.

  • Nilka explains how parents can also make use of the Semillitas materials to reinforce classroom instruction in the home.

  • Nilka concludes with a final word on the power of storytelling in effective teaching.