To ensure that your child is ready for the real world of school and work, you have to get involved early in childhood education and stay involved throughout your child’s schooling. Mathematics and counting (along with reading and writing) are fundamental parts of your child’s learning.
Even before kindergarten, your child should learn beginning concepts in algebra, geometry, measurement, statistics and logic. Over time, they will learn how to solve problems by applying their knowledge of math to new situations. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Helping Your Child series, they should be learning to think of themselves as mathematicians—able to reason mathematically and to communicate mathematical ideas by talking and writing.
So, how do we do this with our kids from an early age? Check out the fundamental concepts used by curriculum developers nationwide. Your toddler or pre-K child will have a head start by learning these concepts before they get to school:
Your toddler develops number sense by counting by ones to 10 or higher. The should start to recognize written numerals 0-9, understand the idea of position or sequence (“first” or “third”) and link numbers to the real world. One activity you can do is to sing counting rhymes and songs with your child (Think “One, two, buckle my shoe…Three, four, close the door…”).
Basically, this means your child should know that the quantity of objects change by adding or taking them away. You can play hide and seek games with objects around the house, or a set of objects, like plastic easter eggs, and have your child count aloud as she or he finds each item.
It is important for kids to learn the concept of time (e.g. morning, tomorrow, etc.). Show them how to measure objects with non-standard measures like hands, a length of string, blocks, and more. You can help your child to understand qualitative differences in measurement (big, heavy, long…) and order items from smallest to biggest or shortest to tallest, for example.
Help your child to recognize and name shapes, describe position and location (no GIS required [!] just concepts like “up”, “down”, “inside”, “outside”), sort objects by shape, color, size and that geometric shapes can be used to form other shapes (an example of this is the way slices of pie can form a whole circle).
Help your child to collect every day or real-world situations, e.g. identify their favorite color, not just name colors. How many pets in the store, how many dogs, or fish in the tank, etc. You can also play guessing games while on walks, such as asking them how many steps it will take to get from one point to another. Also help them to know that pictures and graphs can represent real information.
At the most basic level, you can help your child to repeat simple patterns, like boy-girl, boy-girl or go for a walk and play games where you and your child take two big steps, then two small steps, or three jumps forward and three jumps backward.
The cool thing is that teaching early math skills can be fun and a routine part of you and your child’s day.
To ensure that your child is ready for the real world of school and work, you have to get involved early in childhood education and stay i…