Oregon Early Childhood Foundation: Ages Three to Five - Mathematics
Early Childhood Foundation Areas
- Numbers and Operations
- Geometry and Spatial Sense
- Patterns and Measurement
Young children grow up developing an informal knowledge of mathematical relationships and concepts that are broad and complex. Their early learning experiences are the gateway to “Mathematical Literacy” and provide the foundations for development of the knowledge and skills needed to participate effectively in mathematical situations relevant to real life situations.
Mathematics helps young children begin to make sense of the world in which they live. Children are observers. They tend to make comparisons, and see similarities and differences in toys, objects and materials. As they proceed in development, they increase their ability to organize information. Learning to recognize and create patterns, categorize, predict and use data to solve problems helps children learn about numbers, space and time.
Play provides an opportunity for developing children to explore and construct mathematical ideas and gain an understanding of mathematical concepts. Simple activities like playing in the sandbox, building in the block area, and cooking lead to an understanding of volume, measurement, weight, classification, seriation and conservation, and offer opportunities to create and solve problems. Playing with number and counting games as well as manipulating shapes and puzzles are also significant to the child’s later success using math. Each is an engaging activity that allows children to develop the thinking skills they will use throughout life. Children learn the use of mathematics to describe and/or explore relationships within their environment. They begin to develop the vocabulary, skills and concepts of counting, adding and taking away, measuring, describing, and expressing order and position. Using a child’s own mathematical ideas and understanding to guide curriculum development is essential to assisting children in developing relationships between concepts and skills toward forging a strong conceptual foundation.
Parents, early childhood teachers and caregivers who are flexible can capture the teachable moments during daily routines and exercises by using open-ended questions. Planning activities that build on young children’s experiences, curiosity and enthusiasm helps children develop foundational math concepts.
Oregon K-12 Standard: Mathematics uses numbers and symbols to define, communicate and solve problems.
Head Start Child Outcomes Framework: Mathematics
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