Emerging Math and Young Children

Emerging Math and Young Children
“He has more crackers!” “My tower is taller.”
“I am three and one-half years old.”

Young children are natural mathematicians. They compare, order, create patterns, measure, and identify attributes.

As teachers, we need to build on these natural abilities and help them develop the strong foundation in mathematics concepts and skills that they need succeed in school and in an increasingly complex, technological society.

The resources that follow will provide you with resources and activities to use to develop the children’s mathematical competencies and to deepen your own understanding of early math.

Engaging Activities to Build Early Math Skills

  • Shoe Math – Watch the video Shoe Graph to see how two teachers use read-alouds and a readily available learning resource – the children’s shoes – to develop problem-solving, sorting, ordering, graphing, and measuring skills.
  • Not Just in the Math CenterThis site offers engaging and appropriate ways to integrate math concepts and skills into every learning center in your classroom.
  • 75 Great Math Activities! – Equally appropriate for classroom or home use, these 75 activities develop critical math skills through engaging and playful activities.
  • Songs, Finger Play, Games and More – Use music, games and activities to develop essential math vocabulary and skills in the classroom.
  • Number Patterns and Activities – This preschool website offers rhymes, books, games and activities that are all focused on numbers that can be played during school day learning periods and at any time of the year.
  • By Teachers, For TeachersThe activities on this site, primarily written by teachers, for teachers, focus on the key ideas of early childhood math. The site also offers a number of free online games to use in your classroom.

Strengthening Your Own Understanding of Early Math

  • Building a Strong Base – Read the NAEYC Position Statement on Early Math to understand the opportunities, challenges and best practices for building a strong foundation in math within and beyond the classroom.
  • Video-Based ObservationsView and analyze how one teacher integrates language development, art and mathematics through a lesson on making Play Dough.
  • Video-Based Lesson Studies – More than just observations, lesson studies challenge teachers to analyze practice deeply, focusing on both the child’s learning and the teachers guidance of that learning. This series from the Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative provides the focus for lesson studies and changes in teaching practice.
  • What Should They Know and When Should They Know It? – This list of Math Milestones for three-, four- and five-year-old children provides a guidepost for identifying and tracking children’s development in mathematics.