Math Matters, Even for Little Kids
Deborah Stipek, Alan Schoenfeld, and Deanna Gomby
Education Week Vol. 31, Issue 26, Pages 27,29
Reading skills in kindergarten have always been a commonly known indicator of future academic success, however according to Debrah Stipeks article on Math Matters, a 2007 study “School Readiness and later Achievement” by Greg Duncan found that certain math concepts were the “most powerful predictors of later learning”.
These researchers believe that now is the time to increase focus on early math skills. Since Common Core has published the K-12 standards that should be used as a path to set early childhood standards. The authors know that this task will not be easy especially since there is a wide spectrum of pre-k schools, such as, Head Start and daycares that have diverse funding and requirements. They also are subject to a wide variety of teaching staff and high turnover rates. States should be encouraged to find effective, economical ways to get pre-k teachers proper training, so that accountability measures would be very difficult to set in place. Putting too much curriculum in a pre-k program would mean less time for developmentally appropriate play and social emotional development. Therefore the authors suggest creating a “developmentally appropriate, child-friendly curricula and materials” This curriculum should build on what the children already know so that they may enjoy learning. Children need to learn number sense not rote memorization of letters and numbers. Children need to be taught to problem solve using real world strategies such as shape sorters and geoboards. The authors recommend that teacher training be a priority. Teachers must be able to effectively teach and understand how to not only teach math to pre-k children, but how to assess it. If funding is an issue, the authors suggested hiring math coaches or peer teaching to help facilitate teacher training. The author states...