October 2021 Newsletter – Math in the Early Years: NAEYC’s Recommendations for High-Quality Math Learning

NAEYC’s Recommendations for High-Quality Math Learning

It is important that teachers and caregivers provide appropriate and high-quality learning experiences for the children in their care. Doing otherwise may have a negative impact on children’s understanding of concepts and their eagerness to learn.  Take a moment to reflect on each of the following recommendations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

High-quality math learning experiences occur when early childhood educators:

  • Enhance children’s natural interest in mathematics and their disposition to use it to make sense of their physical and social worlds.
  • Build on children’s experience and knowledge, including their family, linguistic, cultural, and community backgrounds; their individual approaches to learning; and their informal knowledge.
  • Base mathematics curriculum and teaching practices on knowledge of young children’s cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social-emotional development.
  • Use curriculum and teaching practices that strengthen children’s problem-solving and reasoning processes as well as representing, communicating, and connecting mathematical ideas.
  • Ensure that the curriculum is coherent and compatible with known relationships and sequences of important mathematical ideas.
  • Provide for children’s deep and sustained interaction with key mathematical ideas.
  • Integrate mathematics with other activities and other activities with mathematics.
  • Provide ample time, materials, and teacher support for children to engage in play, a context in which they explore and manipulate mathematical ideas with keen interest.
  • Actively introduce mathematical concepts, methods, and language through a range of appropriate experiences and teaching strategies.
  • Support children’s learning by thoughtfully and continually assessing all children’s mathematical knowledge, skills, and strategies.

Assign a rating to each statement from 1 to 10; with 10 representing a practice at which you excel.  Over the next few weeks, take on the challenge of picking a recommendation that is not always apparent in your practice and improving on that skill. Work with other ECE professionals, take courses related to teaching math, or read articles related to the topic to learn more and bring those missing skills into your practice.

For the main article Math in the Early Years, CLICK HERE

For the article Pre-math Skills in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article Using the Language of Math, CLICK HERE

For the article Math Across the Curriculum, CLICK HERE

October 2021 Newsletter – Math in the Early Years

Math in the Early Years

Math is one of the most common ways that we create order and make sense of the world around us. As adults, we learn to organize our time, manage money, read and interpret data to make decisions, consume delicious food, and create solutions to a wide variety of problems. You may not think about it often, but math-related activities probably dominate your professional and personal life.

Everyone can search the internet for a forgotten historical date or the synonym of a word. Understanding math, however, allows us to work with information using critical thinking skills and logic. Some studies have even shown that solid math skills are strongly associated with success in college and the workforce.

Because math is evident in almost all areas of our lives, it stands to reason that it would (and should) also be prevalent in the lives of young children. In this edition of the CCEI newsletter, we will explore the characteristics of high-quality math experiences for young children.  You are encouraged to reflect on your current practices and consider how you might incorporate some of the recommendations into your work with the children in your care.

For the article NAEYC’s Recommendations for High-Quality Math Learning, CLICK HERE

For the article Pre-math Skills in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article Using the Language of Math, CLICK HERE

For the article Math Across the Curriculum, CLICK HERE

Playing with Math

This month’s CCEI Newsletter examines ways that early childhood professionals can enhance math-related learning opportunities for young children. The newsletter contains recommendations from NAEYC and the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics, including:

  • Provide ample time, materials, and teacher support for children to engage in play, a context in which they explore and manipulate mathematical ideas with keen interest.

Most of us can recall our own early experiences with math instruction and in many cases that instruction centered on a math workbook.  We may not have memories of how we explored math concepts as a toddler or preschooler. Because our earliest memories included pencil and paper activities, it may be tempting to try to use these same tools with the young children in our care. When we review the child development research, it becomes clear that those pencil and paper activities are not the most effective way that young children learn. While workbooks and worksheets may be used in elementary schools, research tells us that the best way for young children to explore math concepts in early learning environments is through hands-on exploration and play.

Let’s take a look at a few characteristics of play that support the development of pre-math skills that children explore in early childhood.  Play should be:

  • Hands-on – Children should have the opportunity to touch, move, manipulate, stack, and arrange materials in unique and creative ways.
  • Self-directed – Children should have the autonomy to initiate their own play, choose materials, make decisions, and move on from their play at their own pace.
  • Active – Children should be able to move about the space, incorporating gross and fine motor skills into their play.
  • Social – Children should have the opportunity to engage with and learn from other children in the group.
  • Engaging – Children should be challenged to plan, investigate, create, and solve problems as part of their play.
  • Relevant – Children should be allowed to engage with materials that align with their curiosity and interests.
  • Sustained – Children should be provided long blocks of uninterrupted play in order to sink into the learning that occurs during play.
  • Revisited – Children should be allowed to engage with materials repeatedly, as they can extend their learning each time they revisit play scenarios.
  • Expressive – Children should have the chance to express their unique ideas through their play.
  • Challenging – Children should be encouraged to extend their knowledge, practice critical thinking, and take safe risks during their play.
  • Fun – Play experiences should inspire joy and bring a smile to children’s faces.

Take time over the next few weeks to observe children at play.  Identify times when you see these qualities of play and times when perhaps play periods could be enhanced – not only to enhance math learning but all areas of development.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Math Madness

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI430: Math Madness as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users October 1-31, 2021.

These days, long before they add, subtract, multiply, or solve a complex word problems, children are learning the foundations for math by thinking and problem solving as they manipulate toys and other materials at home or in a classroom.  As they manipulate objects, explore their environment, and make choices, children experience a series of learning processes and gradually develop the foundation for abstract and logical thought, the keys to higher –level math skills. Given adequate materials, time, and a teacher to facilitate activities, children can develop the early cognitive skills necessary for learning and applying complex mathematical concepts.

The goal in early childhood is to develop what are known as pre−math skills. Counting, sorting, patterning, sequencing, and problem solving are examples of appropriate early math activities.  Math “lessons” can take place virtually any time, any place.

All young children develop at their own paces. References to developmental steps or stages should always be seen as guidelines, not as rules. Teachers may notice wide variations in skills and interests between various children.  Thus, teachers need to adjust activities and materials to suit individual developmental needs.

If you offer children learning experiences that catch their interests, they will be far more likely to learn the skills and concepts necessary to succeed beyond pre−math. Despite some adults’ bad memories of the subject, the fact is that math is all about discovery and exploration. With math we solve problems, explore our universe, and build cities. Mathematics gives us tools to understand and interact with the world around us.

This course explains how children learn early math skills during the preschool years and provides suggestions for numerous math activities for young children. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to define the activities that help children develop math skills such as classifying, patterning, sequencing, comparing, ordering and one to one correspondence, identify materials that belong in a well-stocked math/manipulative center and activities that strengthen early math skills for children in the preschool classroom.

“Math and numbers are everywhere, all around us,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “This course will help early childhood teachers, directors, home care providers, and other early childhood education professionals look for little ways to raise children’s awareness of the usefulness of numbers.”

CCEI430: Math Madness is a one-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.1 IACET CEU upon successful completion. The course is also offered in Spanish.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST 

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute®, a division of Excelligence Learning Corporation, provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 150 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials.  CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).