Mathematics in The Early Learning Center is embedded in the daily experiences and core curriculum of each age group. Concrete and active experiences in math provide children with a solid foundation from which, at an older age, they can build an understanding of abstract mathematical ideas. Beginning in the Toddler Programs, we strive to ensure that children continue to develop and enjoy mathematical experiences rooted in their lives. A wide range of concrete materials is used to support children’s curiosity as they explore:
- numerical relations, counting, ordering;
- one-to-one correspondence;
- geometric understandings about space, volume, and shape;
- sorting and classifying;
- pictorial representation of data.
In their work with materials, including unit blocks, pegs and pegboards, Cuisenaire rods, pattern blocks, design cubes, dice and board games, and playing cards, children are actively involved with math learning every day. Math is integrated into the school day; there are no specific math periods.
Toddlers – Nursery Program:
They learn about number and ordering when they count the children participating in an activity; the sequential steps in a recipe that has numerical, verbal, and pictorial directions; the number of eggs needed for a cooking experience and how to take turns to beat them. They experience one-to-one correspondence when they set the table for snack or place a large animal on a double unit block and a smaller one on a single unit. Children measure their heights on long strips of paper and pour different volumes of water and sand from containers of many sizes. They learn to make simple patterns as they work with pegs, blocks, colored cubes, and art materials for painting, collage, and printing. They learn to sort and classify according to size, shape, or color as they find, use, and put back their various play materials. They also might try to estimate how many pretzels are needed for all the children when setting out the snack.
The 4s continue to develop their mathematical thinking through experiences embedded in the life and curriculum of the classroom. They begin to understand decade marks and count patterns as they work with mathematical materials, such as the unifix cubes and pegboards. They can understand and conserve the number of small groups of items without having to count them. Their block work involves more sophisticated understandings of size, volume, shape, and pattern as children measure, add, and remove the different blocks that comprise their complexly designed and sturdily built structures. They learn how to record mathematical data when they measure their bodies with Unifix cubes and write the results on simple graphs. They learn to read the measurements for simple recipes that they make many times over the course of the school year.