With a growing sense of importance being placed on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning, these skills are making their way into the early childhood spotlight. Take a look at what you need to know about math, your preschooler, and early learning.
Math Looks Different in Preschool
If the word “math” makes you think of fractions, lengthy multiplication tables, and never-ending decimals, don’t worry—your child’s pre-k math activities aren’t anything like what you remember from high school or college. Instead of focusing on complex concepts, early childhood math education:
- Covers the basics. Just like early literacy lessons focus on building basic skills (such as learning letters and sounds), early math activities also help children to develop first skills.
- Is hands-on. Young children often learn best when both the mind and body engage in an activity. Through hands-on activities (such as sorting and counting different colored beads) the preschooler can develop basic skills to build on later.
- Is pervasive. Math doesn’t stay in the classroom—it’s all around your child. Whether you point out numbers on a price tag at the grocery store or ask your child to help measure flour to bake a cake, your preschooler is learning about math everywhere and every day.
Along with school time math activities, your child can build basic skills with you at home. Talk to their teacher about what they’re covering in class. Understanding what concept are age-appropriate for your preschooler (and what activities they enjoy) can guide your in-home math adventures.
Math Includes Multiple Areas
What mathematics areas will your preschooler cover? While there’s no shortage of math concepts to tackle, your young child probably isn’t ready for some of the more complex ones—such as algebra or exponents. Instead, early childhood math typically focuses on:
- Numeral identification. Your child needs to know what the numbers look like and how to name them before moving on to higher-level math concept.
- Counting/number sense. After your child masters number identification/naming, they can move on to counting up to 10.
- Spatial sense. As your child builds basic geometry concepts, they need to understand the function of objects in space. This includes shape, position, direction, and size.
- Measurement. While your preschooler isn’t ready to make metric conversions yet, they can learn measurement words (such as inches or pounds) as well as make their own basic measurements. Instead of using traditional tools, such as a ruler, the young child may use string, shoes, or another object.
- Patterns. Your young child will learn how to identify and create patterns using everything from shapes and colors to toy cars and blocks.
Even though the preschooler math curriculum doesn’t include complicated word problems, it will help your child to develop problem-solving skills. Whether your child is sorting objects to count, making measurements, or exploring patterns, they’re practicing problem-solving. This leads to the development of critical thinking skills your child will use now and throughout the course of their education.
Math Is Fun
Math shouldn’t seem like a chore. Your child isn’t just building basic math skills right now. They’re also building a love of math that they can carry with them into elementary school and well beyond.
How can you help to make math fun for your preschooler? Start by:
- Talking to the teacher. The early childhood educator is the first step on your child’s journey to math fun. Ask about hands-on activities to try at home or ways to incorporate math into your daily life.
- Getting creative. Let loose and get creative with math. This may mean learning about patterns through an art activity, building castles with blocks, or engaging in another imaginative option.
- Acting as a role model. If you’re enjoying a math activity or speak positively about math, chances are your child will too.
Making math fun for your child involves encouragement and engagement. Instead of solo activities, sit down with your child and join them in their math fun.
Are you searching for a new preschool program for your early learner? Contact Advantage Learning Center for more information.