From a very early age, children are naturally interested in exploring size, shapes, and quantities. Preschoolers begin to count, sort materials by different characteristics, and recognize shapes. These early math abilities prepare them for understanding more advanced mathematical concepts when they enter elementary school.
Early childhood professionals can support children's early mathematical development by providing materials and experiences that invite children to naturally sort, match, compare, count, and describe quantity, and by supporting these experiences with rich "math talk."
The videos in this series describe children's early mathematical development and provide examples of how early childhood professionals can both explicitly teach math skills and support their development through daily routines and play. Math areas covered include counting, one-to-one correspondence, cardinality, recognition of quantity, comparison, number operations, measurement, data, and geometry.
In addition to teacher-directed activities to help children develop basic math skills, research from the Center demonstrates that a lot of math learning occurs within the context of classroom play, especially when teachers are talking with children about how to solve problems involving number. This video expresses the importance of talking with children about numbers and encouraging them to explain their mathematical processes. When teachers and children engage in regular conversations about quantities, measurement, and size, children will gain mathematical and general cognitive skills.
The Relationship of Teacher-Child Interactions in Preschool Play to Young Children's Mathematical Abilities
While many studies have found strong relationships between young children’s play and literacy, studies of teacher interactions in play and mathematics learning have not been conducted. This edition of "Research Clips" describes findings from a study aimed at identifying classroom interventions in play that are associated with math achievement in three- and four-year-olds. The findings indicate that how teachers interact with and communicate with children while they play has powerful impacts on children’s mathematical learning.