If the words “mathematics curriculum” make you think of your high-school algebra class, you may need to simplify your expectations when it comes to your preschooler’s academic environment. The preschool years — during the ages of 3 and 5 — are a time in which the building blocks of math include simple concepts that can help your kid later as he is learning math in kindergarten and grade school.
When you think about math, do you think about numbers first? This is probably the case for you and your child. The basics of a preschool mathematics curriculum will include number-recognition skills. While the younger preschooler may only have the ability to count up to four of five, a child on the verge of kindergarten, according to the child development experts at PBS Parents, may recognize numbers up to 20. Recognizing numbers is a skill that kids can use later in mathematical operations and as they group or sort items.
Geometry doesn’t equal complex angles and computations when it comes to the building blocks of math. The basics of a preschool mathematics curriculum typically include geometry concepts, such as shape identification. This includes two-dimensional shapes such as squares, rectangles, diamonds, octagons, circles and triangles as well as basic 3-D forms such as cones or spheres. Additionally, a preschool math curriculum may contain other simple geometry concepts and terms such as symmetry, order, direction and position.
Early math learning often includes a primer on basic operations. The building blocks of your little learner’s math curriculum will most likely include simple number operations such as addition. For example, PBS Parents notes that older preschoolers can mentally reason problems with sums up to five such as 1+4 or 3+2. This doesn’t necessarily mean that an effective preschool curriculum contains worksheets or number problems like you would see in a grade-school math textbook. Instead, the preschool version may include more interactive addition or subtraction concepts, and problems such as adding one counting bear to another counting bear to get two counting bears.
Although your preschooler’s mathematics curriculum won’t include higher level metric conversions, it should include using different units of measurement. From hands and feet to actual inches, centimeters or pounds, the basics of a preschool course of study cover ways to measure and quantify different objects and items. For example, your child’s preschool teacher may include lessons on measuring the distance that a toy car can roll using a measuring tape. Additionally, your child will learn about other types of measurements such as time. This includes hour and minute time as well as day, date and year.