Math in Preschool? Oh What Fun! (Really!)

A new report from the National Research Council to Congress urges parents and teachers to help preschoolers learn more math. (Read the Education Week article, “NRC Urges Greater Focus on Preschool Math.”) In preschools today, math is too often ignored. “It’s fair to say the attention is almost entirely on reading and literacy, without recognizing the importance of math,” said Christopher T. Cross, who co-edited the report and chaired the committee that produced it. Children entering kindergarten need to be “ready” in math as well as reading, and research  — and my experience watching my own preschoolers — shows that preschoolers are as curious and interested in numbers and counting and measuring as they are with everything else.

Math learning games important at any age

Does this mean worksheets and flash cards? Of course not. Creative parents and pre-K teachers can easily incorporate math into the play activities they are already doing. Preschoolers  can count how many rocks they collect, measure their feet, compare the size of two leaves, and discuss whether ladybugs are shaped more like circles or ovals. Sounds like fun to me!

  • A practical and engaging way to teach and reinforce counting and measuring in the classroom is through cooking. Visual recipe charts with real numbers and objects not only introduces mathematical terms to the children but the participants actually apply these concepts to real life situations.