Math isn’t just counting numbers … mathematical and logical thinking skills involve so much more!  Rote counting is a skill that requires the memorization of number order –that’s it!   Counting objects using one-to-one correspondence and quantity skills are a much more valuable math lesson.  Talking and thinking about numbers as part of a child’s everyday life can mean so much more to them.  Relevant activities such as …

*putting two cookies on each plate

*needing three more crayons for their art center

* recognizing matching circle shapes in the gym

*cutting their piece of pizza in half

*comparing the small, medium, and large tower in the block center

*recognizing who has brown / blonde hair in our class

*graphing our favorite flavor of ice cream

*measuring a cup of flour for our play-doh recipe

*putting our cars and trucks in order (first, second, third)

*guessing/estimating how many beads are in the container

*telling us what happened yesterday, today and tomorrow

*knowing how many shovel scoops it will take to fill up the pail

lay the groundwork for beginning math with our young children.  It’s also fun and interesting!!  Ask your students these thought-provoking questions…

What do you suppose would happen if…?   What will you do next?  How can we check to see how close your guess it?   Why do you think that?  How did you figure that out?   Do you have any ideas about how we might begin?   Tell me about your pattern.   How can we do this differently?   Would you tell me why you decided to do it that way? Questioning strategies, activities, and simple games offer great opportunities for parents and other adults to help children construct basic mathematical concepts.

Children are born mathematicians from the day they are born.  Even before they can add or subtract, their relationships with people and their interactions with the environment set the stage for the development of mathematical concepts. (Early Years Are Learning Years , National Association for the Education of Young Children series)