Posted on 09/17/2014 at 07:24 AM by Liz Determan

Learning about numbers is an area that we want covered in our preschool math curriculum, but what does that entail?  We want children to have exposure to:

•    Counting—use number sequence and one-to-one correspondence
•    Quantifying—identify how many are in a small set without counting
•    Comparing—use words like more, less, fewer, littler
•    Ordering—indicate first, second, third, etc.
•    Numerals—understand what they are
•    Combining—putting sets of objects together to find out how many
•    Separating—taking away objects to see how many are left
•    Sharing—understanding the concept of fair share
•    Set-Making—learned when distributing or passing out

All these areas are part of number learning, so do more than just count with children!  Get into The Creative Curriculum Mathematics Volume 4 book to learn about these areas.  And remember, all of these can be taught through play with children.  

Geometry and spatial sense is a preschool math curriculum concept that involves
•    Learning about two and three-dimensional shapes
•    Understanding space words like near, under, by, on top of, etc.,
•    Using transforming materials like puzzles, blocks and clay
•    Visualizing and drawing shapes

Giving children direct experience with these types of materials and language in the early years helps them to understand more complex geometry concepts in the future. Don’t forget that learning about these concepts in play-based child-centered ways has more last effect than does drill and practice.

What about measurement in the preschool math curriculum?  Before children can understand how to measure they must understand measurement words like big, little, length, weight, area, time, etc.   They must also be able to first compare and order things—something that requires many experimental experiences.  Assigning a number to an attribute (what’s done when measuring) takes years to learn, so provide children now with plenty of play opportunities that expose them to nonstandard measuring tools and measurement language.

Patterning is algebra for the preschooler.  Children learn about patterns automatically through a consistent daily schedule, when singing phrases in songs and as they notice changes in the environment.  Once a preschooler sees patterns in everyday life they can begin to copy simple repeating patterns.  With time they can extend and create simple repeating patterns and eventually do the same with more complex repeating patterns.  Take the time to scaffold children’s learning through these steps and talk about patterns as they show up in situations throughout the day.

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