There was a time in the not to distant past when educators and parents thought it better not to confuse young children by teaching them too many languages at once. This was the common wisdom. As it turns out, this was completely false. The younger they are, the easier it is for them to learn a new language, pronounce the words correctly and even hear the subtle differences in intonation. In fact, there is a window of opportunity that can be missed if the language is introduced too late.
Math is a language. The longer you wait to introduce math concepts the greater the chances of the child having difficulty with math are. Conversely the earlier you introduce math concepts; the easier math will be as they get older. This may seem obvious to some but the great problem lies in the fact that for the bulk of Americans (including teachers) math was not a positive experience. The thought of inflicting math pain and suffering on their toddler is unbearable. They imagine the poor child suffering through lessons and being exposed to formulas they have to memorize. They want to stave that off as long as possible so that their child can enjoy their early childhood unspoiled by math.
There is a better way. What do children like to do most? PLAY. How about you play math? “Preposterous!” you say. Math is anything but fun. The way you were taught math was probably anything but fun. This is true. There are ways that are quite powerful using manipulatives and blocks that with just a little direction from the parents can instill math concepts in tots without them even knowing they are learning math. There are ways to teach math through play that although the child may know they are doing math it’s still fun. Imagine having your kids ask if they can play math. It happens. Try searching Crewton Ramome Math Enrichment.
For example, with little kids up to about seven or eight you can just use your hands and show all the addends for numbers up to 10. Start with one hand, hold up 5 fingers and then grab two. 3 plus what makes 5? 3 + x = 5, 5 + x = 10 etc. How many is in my hand? Same principal but have raisins or something, put 4 in one hand 3 in the other close the hand with three and say, “I have seven, how many in this hand?” If they get it right they get to eat the three raisins, and you can say 7 minus 3 is 4. If you have big wooden blocks there should be a block that is equal to two smaller blocks and maybe even 4 smaller blocks. Have them show you “half” then “a quarter” or “one fourth.” Show them two fourths is the same as a half. Keep it simple and fun. Don’t make it a lesson. Make it a game.
There are now many pages and hours of FREE videos that show direct proof that math can be fun. Little kids actually like algebra. It’s fun! Fractions too. They don’t need to write symbols to learn math concepts. For little girls an early positive math experience is especially crucial. What does it do for a child’s self esteem to be considered smart at math? Any kid can enjoy this. Have fun. Play math. Learn how. www.crewtonramoneshouseofmath.com
Image Credit: Crewton Ramone House of Math