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Is Early Math as Important as Early Reading? ...Yep!
By: Junior Kindergarten Teachers Julie Renne, Mary Schwartz Dryden and Diane Vujnich
Young children love to count out loud and will happily recite a string of numbers. While reciting the sequence of numbers is a significant accomplishment, it does not indicate a true understanding of mathematical concepts. Counting by rote is a skill that comes quite naturally to most children, as it doesn't require direct instruction to learn the skills needed to count.
In Junior Kindergarten, we provide situations in the classroom to help children quantify objects in ways that make sense to them, such as counting napkins for snack time, chairs for peers, and how many children are having a turkey sandwich for lunch. Math games and activities further help to promote problem solving and develop critical reasoning skills. This in turn allows immediate feedback from peers and/or adults to help assess the “process” rather than the product. It’s the task of the teacher to encourage the child’s thinking in his own way and not to push for the right answers. Age appropriate math for small children is no longer to drill and practice worksheets. Preschoolers learn by counting, manipulating, sorting and grouping REAL objects in connection to everyday experiences.
Math is incorporated in many parts of our day from calendar time and large group activities to small groups and story times. Math concepts and manipulatives are introduced during small group lessons. Because play is an important part of JK learning, the children are drawn to these activities and often request to do them during times of the day when they are allowed to choose their own activities. This repetition is important as each child is developmentally ready for these concepts at different times. Thanks to this repetition, many children can take these concepts to another level by the end of our time together in Junior Kindergarten.
As Juniors are learning more about math through these everyday experiences, they are well prepared for skills to come in Senior Kindergarten — place value, identifying numbers through 100, addition and subtraction, comparing numbers, measurement, and story problems. The introduction of these concepts at a young age not only assesses academics, but also confidence, risk-taking, and problem solving — all of which are abilities used throughout all areas of life. We love our ability to support our youngest learners within the comfort of a classroom that provides supportive teachers and respectful peers. When provided with a variety of mathematical opportunities, your young child is able to open his/her mind to learning that takes place along with enthusiasm, cooperation, curiosity and dedication.
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.