This month’s newsletter explores many different ways that educators can incorporate math language and exploration into their learning environment. At the program level, there are things the staff can do to ensure that everyone in the program is working toward the same math-rich environment. Below is a list of recommendations put forth by NAEYC and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to help programs determine strengths and areas of need related to math instruction.
Work with your staff and coworkers to rate your program on each of the following recommendations. Once you have identified opportunities for growth, create an action plan and get to work!
In high-quality mathematics education for 3- to 6-year-old children, teachers and other key professionals should:
1. enhance children’s natural interest in mathematics and their disposition to use it to make sense of their physical and social worlds
2. build on children’s experience and knowledge, including their family, linguistic, cultural, and community backgrounds; their individual approaches to learning; and their informal knowledge
3. base mathematics curriculum and teaching practices on knowledge of young children’s cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social/emotional development
4. use curriculum and teaching practices that strengthen children’s problem-solving and reasoning processes as well as representing, communicating, and connecting mathematical ideas
5. ensure that the curriculum is coherent and compatible with known relationships and sequences of important mathematical ideas
6. provide for children’s deep and sustained interaction with key mathematical ideas
7. integrate mathematics with other activities and other activities with mathematics
8. 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
9. actively introduce mathematical concepts, methods, and language through a range of appropriate experiences and teaching strategies
10. support children’s learning by thoughtfully and continually assessing all children’s mathematical knowledge, skills, and strategies.
Details regarding each of these recommendations can be found in the joint position statement of the NEAYC and NCTM.