Last November, I gave a presentation to the parents at the Creative Play Center in Pleasant Hill, CA on how to support their children's early math development. In the talk, I drew from professional recommendations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and my own experience and expertise as a math educator and former preschool teacher. Here are some of the key ideas we discussed.
When thinking about children's early mathematical development, parents and teachers should consider three areas of development: Conceptual Understanding, Mathematical Thinking, and Psychosocial Development. Here are are some descriptions about what each area looks like in early childhood:
Developing early math skills does not mean giving preschoolers math workbooks or written arithmetic problems to solve (although some children may enjoy these!). In preschool, opportunities to build pre-math understandings are everywhere, and they can be fun, creative, and exploratory, and and they can be built around children's own interests, insights, and experiences.