Mathematical minds

Empowering Mathematical Minds

Posted by: Rhonda September 8, 2015

The current emphasis on STEM learning draws attention to the importance of math in the early years. New research suggests that early math skills predict later academic success with greater accuracy than early reading skills. But how do you implement a developmentally appropriate math program in preschool?

Because many early childhood teachers feel poorly prepared to teach mathematics they fall back on traditional methods like rote counting and memorization. This may work if you’re looking for immediate results. However, what children really need to build a secure mathematical foundation is a hands-on understanding for the basic concepts of math: relationships of objects in space, linking numbers to objects, patterns, sorting, and shapes.

It sounds complicated but it is probably already happening naturally in your classroomthrough play. The teacher’s role is to support further exploration by providing materials that extend the learning opportunities.

“One way of picturing this,” writes Pradnya Patet, “is to use mathematical vocabulary: the teacher’s task is to add, subtract, multiply, and divide appropriate resources in a way that will encourage the children to problem-solve on their own.” How might this look in your classroom? Read the article.