Category Archives: early childhood science

DAP Mathematics

 

As I travel the country doing early childhood workshops, I am always very concerned with math instruction.  Of course there is a new resurgence of math concentration with the attention given to STEM and STEAM schools.  Each organization has it’s own set of mathematics standards.  My one large criticism is that sometimes the language used in standards is so academic that I fear many classroom teachers fail to absorb the full impact of the standard.  I’m not suggesting we dummy things down, but just make sure that we use language that is usable to the early childhood teacher.  I also worry that standards are not often listed in the order that you should introduce them to a child.

Through all of the language of mathematics standards, I think the simplicity of developmentally appropriate math strategies gets lost.  I watch many teachers instruct students in a math standard before the child has a solid foundation with which to understand and incorporate that skill.  A solid foundation will provide a solid basis for the scaffold of math the child should develop.  A good foundation will last throughout time.  I recently found the foundation of a dock on the coast of Kauai, where they used to load pineapples. The farming and production ceased long ago, but the foundation of the dock has lasted through time.  A math foundation for a child should be just as solid.

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I have found that the following developmental steps provide a solid foundation for future math skills:

  1. Spatial Relationships
  2. Classification/sorting
  3. Patterning
  4. One to one correspondence
  5. Ordering
  6. Numeration
  7. Shapes
  8. Place value
  9. Measurement

 

Each one of the skills listed provides a solid foundation for the skills that comes next.  For more information, check out the book, Count on Math by Dr. Pam Schiller or download my conference handout about math on the right side of this blog.

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The Science of Discovery

Recently, we were talking in one of my university classes about creativity in science. Our discussion led to how important it is to help a child ‘discover’ or learn about the world around her. In fact, in this age of technology and electronic gadgets, I think that many people fail to observe what is happening to the Earth around them. It usually takes something devastating, like the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, to bring people back to the reality of how our world functions. Providing science discovery activities in the classroom can help the child understand when events like this do happen.

To me, the biggest reason to provide great science discovery is to help the child enjoy and notice the beauties of the world. I think this discovery leads to more respectful citizens who value the earth and perhaps will be more inclined to care for our precious environment and resources. I also think that teachers who ‘don’t have time to teach science,’ don’t understand how science reinforces reading and math and science activities can be used just as effectively as activities we usually label math and reading. When I have children sort and classify seashells or leaves in the science center, they are using skills that will help them sort mathematical items and letters of the alphabet. All the world can work together if we just give it a chance.