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Helping Your Pre-Schooler With Math-Time to Reflect and Evaluate
We are now a third of the way through this series. This is a good time to reflect and evaluate your progress helping your preschooler develop math skills. Which strategies worked as you hoped? Did you encounter any problems? Do you still have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and why?
In the introductory article to this series we discussed research that found that the critical years for learning logic and establishing a strong mathematical foundation are the years 1 to 4. Equally surprising, from continued studies, are the results showing that a child’s math skills at the start of kindergarten are a better predictor of future academic success than are reading skills, social skills or the ability to concentrate.
Read it again! Mathematical skills of a child a entrance to the kindergarten are a better predictor of future academic success than even reading skills. This result is HUGE! I hope this fact brings into focus the importance of your efforts for your child’s future.
At this point, you may be thinking that you should transfer responsibility for learning math to an organized preschool, but I strongly caution against this idea. Early childhood education, whether it begins at age 3 or 4, can be beneficial, especially for social skills, and may be appropriate for your child. However, he misses those critical early years to establish a good mathematical foundation. Also, as this knowledge of the importance of preschool math education becomes more widely known, more programs are being designed that rely too heavily on “seat work.” Preschoolers lack the motor skills and attention span to succeed in an all-seats work environment. Unfortunately, in too many of these programs our very young children are losing their enthusiasm for learning. It is imperative that this does NOT happen to your child!
Now might be a good time to re-read the second article in this series: 7 Things You Should Always Do. Realize that these procedures and attitudes are important for all learning to occur. In fact, you’ve probably used most, if not all, as you’ve worked with your child’s language skills. Note, too, that most early math skills can be handled alongside early language skills. Learning to count–1, 2, 3, 4, 5,… –is the same skill as learning to say the alphabet–a, b, c, d, e,… Learning to write numbers it can accompany learning to write the letters of the alphabet. Your child’s expanding vocabulary can and should also include math vocabulary.
So far in this series, we’ve talked about helping your child master counting, number recognition, using number lines, focusing on if-then thinking, addition, subtraction, number families, even and odd numbers, and a quick look at some primes. numerical patterns. Hopefully, you take advantage of the “teachable moments” instead of trying to schedule learning sessions. Your routines, such as going to the store, preparing meals, playing in meetings, going to the park, reading before bed, etc., provide many opportunities for learning.
Let your child’s interest and enthusiasm guide you what you do, when you do, and for how long. Return often to previously learned skills to check that your understanding is still present and correct. This will let you know if you need to reteach a skill. Know that having to reteach is a normal part of learning and does NOT indicate a failure on your part.
I’ll hold off on articles that introduce new math skills until after a few articles that address some related topics, such as the importance of reading to your child, correcting learned errors, task analysis, and learning styles. Continue to work with your child as you have been doing. status, always staying positive, keeping things fun, reinforcing success, and paying close attention to your child’s body language and mood.
Aspects to remember with preschool children:
Children learn at their own pace. Some skills will be acquired quickly, while others will require repeated practice.
Children must be actively involved in their learning. They have to DO things instead of watching and listening to you.
Repetition is necessary for learning to occur. However, make sure that what is being repeated does correct. Practice only makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Keep it up with your preschooler! Never lose sight of how important you are to future success.
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