Math involves so much more than just numbers! Simple tasks like telling time and counting spare change can lead to better time management skills and money sense. Sometimes it feels like there is just so much to learn! It turns out that the sooner children begin to learn, the better, as learning basic math skills in early childhood has a positive lasting impact on student success later in life.
The Math/Reading Connection
Learning math concepts early is also linked to stronger reading skills. It just makes sense to build a solid math foundation to boost reading. Programs like Waterford Upstart recognize this important connection between early reading skills (literacy) and early math skills (numeracy), and offer activities that combine both skill sets to help your child be confident learners as they start school.
Reading books about math is an enjoyable way to help your child understand the subject, and it also strengthens that connection between early literacy and early math abilities. Check out these digital books about math concepts available from the Waterford Resource Library:
Encouraging a Love for Math
A child’s math skills grow and improve with guidance and practice. Working on these skills doesn’t have to be boring! Children learn a lot of important skills during their PreK years by exploring math in different ways, such as through art, music, or reading. Encourage your child to discover the world of math through stories, games, and fun activities like these from the Waterford Resource Library:
- Patterns: draw the next shape to continue a pattern
- Shapes: record how many shapes are found on a shape hunt
- Money: practice counting nickels and pennies
- Geometry: create designs using tangram pieces
- Sorting: practice sorting into groups
- Comparing: identify objects that are the same and different
- Measuring: use a ruler to measure items
- Building: use different sizes of blocks to build objects
- Counting: practice counting on your fingers
You can help strengthen the connection between early literacy and early math skills even more just by talking about math with your child! For example, while sorting objects into groups, you can ask your child to describe the differences they see, such as color, texture, or shape. Check out this video for some more tips on how to help your child grow a love for learning math:
Early Math, Future Skills
Encouraging your child to enjoy math in the early years prepares them for future learning. Even simple math games your child plays can be the beginnings of algebra! Here is a list of advanced concepts and engaging activities that your child can enjoy now while preparing for the future:
- Logical reasoning: identifying objects that don’t belong
- Problem-solving: drawing a picture to help visualize a situation
- Analyzing: practicing perspective-taking to analyze a situation
- Interpreting: taking turns asking and answering questions
- Summarizing: recalling information such as who, what, when, where, and why
- Operations: identifying the order of things such as first, middle, and last
- Algebraic thinking: identifying, grouping, or matching objects that are similar
These skills not only help children with math, but also play an important role in social development. Your child can use their problem-solving skills both when solving a puzzle and when transitioning into a new school environment. Math also helps students develop conceptual understanding, an important tool children use when exploring the world around them through imaginative play.
Learning math can be very fun, but we all know it can be challenging to master new skills. Explain to your child that mistakes are always learning opportunities. Talk through any struggles with a “math positive” attitude, and take your child seriously as they express frustrations. With your support, your child’s growth mindset will give them the confidence to try new things. When children have a positive attitude about learning new math skills, they will have equally positive learning outcomes.