According to Copley, early childhood is a significant period of successful school learning (58). Early childhood teachers believe that learning mathematics is a necessary activity. Children’s exposure to learning mathematics is an indication of success in later school learning activities. Young children can understand things better than adults because they are natural learners. Integrating mathematics into everyday routines enables young children to develop strong academic foundations from which they grow as learners. Introducing young children to learn mathematics at a pre-school age prepares them to become future scientists.
Ensuring that young children learn mathematics enables them to experiment, hypothesize, explore, and measure things. Learning mathematics prepares children to understand the reality surrounding the physical world and such experience continues to fascinate their interest to discover and learn things in their entire school learning period. The capability to enhance children’s language development is a vital strategy as this prepares them for success in their learning. Children attend the preschool setting when already having their knowledge regarding their own constructions about space, relationships, quantity, and the world. Children possess a natural desire to figure out, connect, and sense things of the world.
The National Association for the Education of Young Child (NAEYC) recommends that parents, policymakers, educators, and other professionals need to promote children’s learning through developing continuous and thoughtful monitoring and evaluating children’s mathematical strategies, skills, and knowledge. NAEYC clearly defines the role of early childhood educators as professionals who are responsible for knowing what children understand, what programs to teach, and how children learn. Educators understand that language development plays a vital role in children’s learning. Copley says that language holds various meanings and implications for young children (59). Teachers have the responsibility of questing, observing, and monitoring children’s progress and offer the required support for children. Early childhood educators need to carry out continuous and thoughtful evaluation of mathematical understanding. The assessment involves developing provoking questions, focused observation, and documenting children’s work.
NAEYC encourages parents and teachers to understand the role that mathematics plays in children’s learning progress (Eisenhauer and Feikes 19). NAEYC continues to search for new opportunities to advance mathematical concepts in settings based on early childhood education. Learning using classroom materials and toys is a significant example of the math-making experience that children perform in their early childhood settings. Such a learning experience provides new knowledge into various approaches in which young children understand mathematics in their playful natural environment. Practical learning is a vital experience for students because it gives them a firsthand experience that makes them active learners. NAEYC encourages educators to use materials to help them connect their knowledge of mathematics into the way in which children learn and understand mathematics.
NAEYC recommends that developing and recognizing children’s experiences and knowledge are significant for the efficient mathematics education of early childhood learning. Young children possess different community, cultural, home, and linguistic experiences onto which to develop mathematics learning. To attain educational and equity efficiency, educators need to understand such social differences and commit themselves to develop new learning experiences. Copley claims that mathematics benefits learners to know important concepts by using different ways of understanding (63). Effective mathematics curriculum helps to build children’s learning skills and cognitive development. Children’s interests, competence, and confidence in mathematics learning improve when they connect their experiences with new realities facing them. Appropriate early childhood learning programs offer opportunities for learners to refine, quantify, reinvent, abstract, and represent ideas they learned intuitively or experimentally.
NAEYC ensures that teaching practices and mathematical curriculum correspond with children’s social-emotional, physical, knowledge, and linguistic developments. Educators require a wide knowledge regarding problem-solving, reasoning, and cognitive development of children (Eisenhauer and Feikes 21). Reasoning and problem-solving are integral aspects of mathematics. NAEYC recommends such useful skills in early childhood development. Representation, reasoning, connection, problem-solving, and communication are vital skills that enable children to obtain the required knowledge. These skills develop with time when facilitated by effective opportunities for learning.
NAEYC wants that educators remain alert to children’s creativity, ideas, and experiences. In order to build a powerful and coherent curriculum, teachers should focus on mathematical ideas while connecting such aspects with other related activities. Understanding ideas such as data analysis, patterns, algebra, measurements, geometry, and the numbers of early childhood mathematics, which are available and accessible in the children’s presence, are vital for future learning development. These big ideas are available, accessible, and challenging to the children’s presence but are important to children’s learning.
NAEYC considers that logical and rational concepts are significant aspects since they help learners to reflect, examine, construct, and widen their mathematical insights. Such significant concepts improve educators’ opportunities to bridge the gaps in understanding children’s knowledge. NAEYC aims to incorporate mathematical experiences with other activities. Copley views that early childhood educators must support children to develop mathematical skills while integrating such knowledge with other activities (64). Teachers can use children’s daily routines and activities to build and introduce vital mathematical ideas. Teachers should offer ample time to children to develop their learning experience. Puzzling over a problem and trying to solve a challenge is a powerful learning approach.
NAEYC encourages educators to help children to participate in playing activities as a way of manipulating and exploring mathematical ideas. Playing promotes learning, thinking, and social interactions (Eisenhauer and Feikes 23). Playing provides rich possibilities for mathematical development. NAEYC suggests that an effective curriculum integrates different materials, strategies, and approaches to help children’s capability and interests in learning mathematics. NAEYC requires teachers to promote children’s learning by developing continuous and thoughtful assessments of children’s strategies, skills, and knowledge of understanding mathematics.
Finally, this paper reflects on how these two articles related to the teaching experience of educators. Acknowledging and developing mathematics understanding which children bring when joining the preschool environment is important because it is the basis of building mathematics foundations. Educators having this understanding can build the knowledge that children have. Children normally develop their sense of organization and order when exploring and manipulating materials. Teachers’ presence helps children to build an understanding of numbers, sequences, and patterns of things. Playful activities are ways of learning that young children use for improving their learning skills. Young children develop their mathematical knowledge through their daily interactions with their enriched home environment and the natural world.
Before taking part in school mathematics, children have knowledge of vital mathematical experiences because of their playful activities. Exploring and playing with materials such as board games, rattles, lacing cards, building blocks, a miniature dollhouse, and stacking cups are vital programs when attending mathematics learning. Exploring materials help children to build their cognitive development. Exploring materials enables children to develop different thinking approaches that build their mathematical insights. Involving in practical experiences is a vital strategy because it helps in building children’s cognitive development. Exploring materials help children to connect the activities they perform with their thinking. The presence of teachers is essential and integral in supporting children’s learning development.
Copley, Juanita. “Assessing Mathematical Learning: Observing and Listening To Children.” Curriculum: Brain Research, Math Science 2.1 (2010): 58-66. Print.
Eisenhauer, Mary and Feikes, David. “Dolls, Blocks, and Puzzles: Playing With Mathematics Understandings.” Young Children Review Journal 4.1 (2009): 18- 23, Print.