Helping Your Preschooler Reflect and Assess with Math Time
We are now a third of the way through this series. This is a good time to reflect and assess your progress in helping your preschooler develop math skills. What strategies worked as you expected? Have you encountered a problem? 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 the research finding that the critical years for learning logic and establishing a solid mathematical foundation are ages 1 to 4. A better predictor of future academic success is reading skills, social skills or the ability to concentrate.
Read it again! The math skills of a child in entrance to kindergarten they are a better predictor of future academic success than even reading skills. This result is HUGE! I hope this fact highlights how important your efforts are to your child’s future.
At this point, you might be thinking that you should transfer the responsibility for learning math to an organized preschool, but I strongly caution you against this idea. Preschool, whether it starts at 3 or 4 years of age, can be beneficial, especially for social skills, and may be appropriate for your child. However, you lose those initial critical years to establish a good mathematical foundation. Furthermore, as this awareness of the importance of preschool mathematics education becomes more widely known, more programs are being designed that rely too heavily on “work in the seat.” Preschoolers lack the motor skills and attention span to be successful in an all-seated work environment. Unfortunately, in many of these programs, our 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 reread the second article in this series: 7 Things You Should Always Do. Keep in mind that these procedures and attitudes are important for all learning to occur. In fact, you’ve probably used most, if not all, of these as you’ve worked with your child’s language skills. Also note that most early math skills can be managed 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 can accompany learning write letters of the alphabet. Your child’s expanding vocabulary can and should include math vocabulary as well.
So far in this series, we have discussed how to help your child master counting, number recognition, using number lines, focusing on “if-then” thinking, addition, subtraction, number families. , odd and even numbers, and a quick look at some number patterns. Hopefully, you are taking advantage of “learning moments” instead of trying to schedule learning sessions. Their routines, such as going to the store, preparing meals, playing games, going to the park, reading before bed, etc., provide many opportunities for learning to occur.
Let your child’s interest and enthusiasm guide you that you do, when you do it, and for how long. Return frequently to previously learned skills to verify that your understanding is still present and correct. This will let you know if you need to re-teach a skill. Know that reteaching is a normal part of learning and does NOT indicate failure on your part.
I’m going to postpone articles that introduce new math skills until after a few articles that will address some related topics, such as the importance of reading to your child, correcting learned mistakes, analyzing homework, and learning styles. Continue to work with your child as you have. Always be positive, keeping things fun, reinforcing success, and paying close attention to your child’s body language and mood.
Points to remember with preschoolers:
Children learn at their own pace. They will learn some skills quickly, while other skills will need repeated practice.
Children must actively participate in their learning. They should DO things instead of watching and listening to you.
Repetition is necessary for learning to occur. However, make sure that what is repeated is Right. Practice only makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Keep up the good work with your preschooler! Never lose sight of how important you are to future success.