7 ways to help preschoolers develop early math skills

Why is it crucial to build early math skills at the preschool age?

Building early math skills at preschool age is crucial because it helps set the foundation for a child’s future learning. Developing basic numeracy skills such as counting, recognizing numbers, and understanding simple addition and subtraction can help a child develop a betterunderstanding of more complex math concepts as they progress through school. Early mathskills also help to improve focus, concentration, and problem-solving abilities, which can bebeneficial in all areas of learning.

Teaching mathematics in early childhood

A study on math in the early years found that 60% of 3-year-olds had zero math experience from their early childhood programs. Even though Mathematics is one of the core elements in STEAM or STREAM for early learners, this subject still lacks the much-needed attention from educators,parents, and caregivers.

Maybe it’s because children seem to learn the basics on their own: counting, comparing objects,doing simple reasoning and problem-solving, etc. If they can do all that just by copying others,why bother to formally teach it?

In fact, it’s vital to set developmental milestones in mathematicsand support preschoolers along the way. Continue reading to find out the core reasons why. Afterward, you can create an appropriate math learning environment for young children with seven must-try methods and tips backed by scientific research.

1. Use everyday activities to introduce early math concepts.
2. Let your child explore and manipulate objects to develop their spatial awareness.
3. Play games that involve counting and sorting.
4. Introduce basic shapes and patterns.
5. Read books with mathematical themes.
6. Incorporate measurements and calculations into daily life.
7. Ask questions about numbers and quantities when out and about.

Importance of Numeracy in early childhood

Numeracy is an important foundation for developing a wide range of skills in early childhood.
Through numeracy, children learn to think logically, reason, and problem-solve. Additionally,numeracy develops a child’s ability to predict, compare, and interpret information. Numeracy also helps children understand the world around them by developing an understanding of quantities, measurements, and shapes. This understanding can be used to explore and understand patterns, relationships, and other mathematical concepts.

Through numeracy, children learn to recognize and use number symbols, understand the value of numbers, and develop an understanding of basic operations such as addition and subtraction. All these skills help to prepare children for a successful transition into school and lay the foundation for future academic success.

Math play: examples from a preschool classroom

1. Counting Race: Have two students stand up, and one of them holds a beanbag or other
small object. The teacher will then call out a number, and the students have to race to be the first one to correctly count to that number.
2. Number Matching: Have two students sit opposite each other and give each student a set of numbered cards. The teacher will then call out a number, and the students have to match the number to the card they have in their hand.
3. Math Relay: Divide the class into two teams and give each team a set of numbered cards.The teacher will call out a number, and the first student from each team has to run to the front of the room, grab the card with that number, and return it to their team. The team with the most cards at the end of the game wins!

Developmental milestones in mathematics

1. Age 2: Counts up to 10 objects and recognizes some written numerals and shapes.

2. Age 3:Counts up to 20 objects, understands the concept of size, understands "more" and "less,” and understands the idea of addition and subtraction.

3. Age 4: Counts up to 100 objects, understands basic geometric shapes, and understands the concepts of multiplication and division.

4. Age 5: Understands place value, understands fractions, and solves simple addition and subtraction problems.

5. Age 6: Solves basic multiplication and division problems, understands the concept of time,and understands basic algebraic principles.

6. Age 7: Understands basic geometry, understands basic probability and statistics,understands the concept of negative numbers.

7. Age 8: Understands basic equations, solves basic algebraic equations, and understands basic calculus concepts.

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