According to a study conducted at Stanford University, math anxiety is a real condition, and it can strike children at any age. If you're just starting to introduce basic math ideas to your preschooler, you might be wondering what you can to do begin strengthening their skills and understanding at a young age. Luckily, there are several simple strategies that you and your child's preschool can employ that can help them excel at basic math skills. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your preschooler build a solid math foundation:
Understand the Basic Preschooler Math Milestones
Children learn at their own pace, but in general, there are several general math milestones that your three- or four-year-old should be reaching. In addition to looking for these milestones yourself, ask your child's preschool teachers to keep an eye out for these skills, as well:
- The ability to compare the number or size of objects, such as bigger or small and less or more.
- When you ask your preschooler their age, they should be able to hold up the corresponding number of fingers.
- The ability to recognize and name a number of shapes.
- The ability to understand and recognize patterns and simple sequences. For example, most preschoolers understand that during their bedtime routine, they should brush their teeth, put on their pajamas and get into bed.
In addition to recognizing your preschooler's math milestones, it is just as important to understand potential signs of a problem. For example, if your child has trouble with simple counting, can't recognize or name simple shapes, or can't recognize simple patterns, talk to your pediatrician.
Working with Your Preschool to Improve Your Child's Math Skills
Your preschooler's teachers are a great source of support and assistance, especially when it comes to improving your child's basic math skills. In addition to helping you pinpoint any potential areas of concern, ask your preschooler's teachers what you can do at home, and what they are doing in the classroom, to help give your child a jump start in math.
For example, ask your child's teacher what games and activities they are doing to help improve your preschooler's math skills. You should also understand which skills your child should master before entering kindergarten, and what your child's teacher is doing to ensure this occurs. However, remember that your child's preschool is only one source of information. As a parent, you must work with your child's preschool teacher to provide them with the help they need to succeed.
Work at Home to Help Your Preschooler's Basic Math Skills
In addition to working with your preschooler's teachers, it is critical to introduce your preschooler to basic math skills at home. Here are a few simple ways you can help improve your preschooler's math skills:
- Take a walk and show your preschooler how math impacts their everyday life. For example, find two rocks and show your child that one is "bigger" and the other is "smaller." You can also count the number of trees on your block, or discover that there are fewer houses on one street and more on another.
- Gather multiples of several items throughout your home, such as teddy bears, shoes, or tin cans, and count through them with your preschooler. Even if your preschooler can only count to four, go ahead and count higher. This will help introduce them to new and higher numbers.
Ask your child's preschool teacher about any books or other resources available that can help you improve your little one's math skills at home.
Your preschooler is just learning about the wonders of math. Understanding your preschooler's math milestones and working with their teachers are two simple things you can do as a parent to help your child excel at math, both now and throughout school.
For more information, contact a preschool such as Cottonwood Montessori.