Math and Your Child
Why does it matter if your one, two, three or four year old knows math. Won’t they learn that in Kindergarten? Can they actually understand math concepts, add or subtract numbers, or do the math required of Kindergarten when they are such a younger child?
The answer is YES!
According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:
“The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics affirms that a high-quality, challenging, and accessible mathematics education provides early childhood learners with a vital foundation for future understanding of mathematics. Young children in every setting should experience effective, research-based curricula and teaching practices. Such practices in turn require policies, organizational support, and resources that enable teachers to do this challenging and important work.”
Babies, toddlers and Pre-Schoolers know quite a bit about math. It’s in everything they do, see, touch and feel. Practices should be used to strengthen their problem-solving skills and reasoning abilities using both formal and informal techniques. Verbal commands and expressions are important to this group, so encouraging the child to communicate what they are thinking and learning will be key to their success in learning and understanding the different mathematical concepts.
Let's take a look at each age group so as parents and caregivers, you can begin to understand why math is important and why you need to seek out a school that teaches it. Every advantage your child receives in early education will only benefit them as they grow older. Their little minds are so thirsty for knowledge and they will soak it up and retain it. Further, if your child has a learning disability, it is beneficial to get them tested earlier in life to better understand their deficiency and to help them learn in the way that is best for them. At Seven Branches Academy, we test our children according to the State of Georgia’s recommendations.
Toddlers (One & Two Year Olds)
- Toddlers can help match objects that are alike or that are needed together. For example, pairing together a fork with a spoon, a pot with its lid, a pair of socks with shoes, a hat with mittens, etc… This pairing game allows them to understand and develop early reasoning skills.
- They enjoy filling and emptying containers to teach them volume.
- They can understand the meaning of numbers one and two – they know how to take “just one” or to give their friend two blocks while they keep two blocks. As the child reaches age two, they can imitate counting but cannot understand quantity beyond two. As they near 2 ½ years old, they will be able to add one plus one and subtract two minus one.
- They realize that when an object is hidden, that it still exists. They can build a structure with blocks, can put a puzzle together and can remove a part of a toy and replace it. These all teach them the beginnings of Geometry.
- Toddlers begin to understand time through daily routines such as when it’s time to eat, sleep and play. Further they begin to see measurement differently when things are in pieces verses whole (there’s more when it’s in pieces than in a whole version).
- They begin to understand patterns – groups of large and small objects, day and night and types of animals or sounds. Learning patterns is the beginning of reasoning and Algebra.
Three & Four Year Olds
- Three to four year olds are naturally inclined to use mathematics by saying “he has more than me” or “it’s too big to fit there”. They develop their curiosity, imagination and problem solving in this manner.
- Numbers are important to this group. Some three year olds are able to count to ten, although not in the correct order. By the time the child reaches four, they are able to count beyond 20. They also know that the larger the number is, the greater the value.
- They are able to create a necklace of beads and determine the pattern for the beads.
- They are able to understand “first” and “last”.
- Three and four year olds love to put 3 to 5 piece puzzles together. This helps also with Geometry and encourages the child to think logically about how the pieces fit together.
- When they create an object, it will normally be symmetrical in shape. This rudimentary thinking is the beginning of spatial relational thinking involved in Geometry, Physics, Algebra and math in general.
- As they begin learning to jump and run, they are actually learning deductive reasoning about how far they can run without hitting something and how long they can jump in relation to a fixed object.
As you can see, although the concepts are simple, math is very much involved in early education. Teach your child to love math and its concepts, and they will continue that love math as they go through the next 12 years of school! Seven Branches Academy is here to help. We are not a daycare, but an academy focused on teaching your children the necessary building blocks to their academic success.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: What Is Important in Early Childhood Mathematics?
National Association for the Education of Young Children: Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings
PBS Parents: Child Development