We’re continuing our celebration of NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child with Work Together Wednesday.
Early childhood friends, I have a confession: I am a math person.
I know, I know. Math gets a bad rap. We all know it’s important, but it’s not usually love for proofs and calculus that land people in the preschool classroom. One minute, you’re asking children how many students are at school today; the next, you’re having anxious flashbacks to high school algebra.
However...what if I told you that math is actually really fun? And creative? And exploratory?
When teaching math to young children, it’s easy to get hung up on the standards, terminology, and mechanics. But math in the early childhood classroom is much more about laying the foundation for the critical thinking skills used later. You’re developing children’s frameworks for understanding. You’re encouraging their lateral thinking skills. When you’re in the art area, you’re helping children understand that the images they create are made up of shapes. When you ask children to help set the table for snacks, you’re helping them learn to solve problems with mathematical tools like one-to-one correspondence. When you’re in the block center, you’re encouraging children to predict what will happen to structures, finding patterns, and strengthening spatial reasoning.
That’s why I’m excited about Work Together Wednesday, which shows us that “when children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills.” That’s right - math concepts are related to all of these domains of learning and understanding!
So, how do you pick the right questions to further children’s understanding? I like to take my inspiration directly from educators and from children themselves! There are tons of great examples of teachers and children building together in the CLASS Video Library and Learning Resources. Here are some thought-provoking questions they ask, and a few of my own:
As teachers or family members, we can do so much to help children develop their early math skills in ways that are genuinely fun! Share with us and join in the conversation about what you and your young child are building together with this year’s event hashtag: #WOYC21.
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As you know, CLASS® is a tool that captures teacher-student interactions. When it comes to the dimension Concept Development, the focus is on the method the teacher uses to provide instruction in the classroom. While the interactions are what get measured with CLASS, as a teacher you can plan for Concept Development to be more intentionally woven throughout your lessons.
Let’s look closer at how to do this.
In this episode of Impacting the Classroom, our host Marnetta Larrimer talks to Dr. Daryl Greenfield of the University of Miami and Teachstone's own Veronica Fernandez. They discuss research on the importance of science in early education and how opportunities to explore the wonder of science with children are everywhere--even if you are not a scientist yourself.
Our guests had so much to share that we didn't have time to fit it all in one episode! You can read the extended version of the podcast in the transcript below.
Dr. Greenfield passed on a number of resources for educators, administrators, and parents interested in learning more about science education in the early years. You can check them out here:
The frameworks that power great interactions with children can be applied to relationships with our coworkers. In our webinar Staying In-Sync: Creating Positive Interactions Between Teachers, panelists Kate Cline, Professional Services Manager at Teachstone, and Deidre Harris, Educational Consultant at Team Agreements, led a lively discussion about how to foster healthy relationships among your staff. They identified a few key areas that make up the foundation of this work. Let’s get into it!
The time that you spend with all your staff together is limited, so how can you make the most of it? It’s crucial to ensure that you’re building strong relationships with staff and creating a structure that best works for your team. After all, you want your team to leave your in-service trainings feeling safe to grow, proud of their collective success, and supported with the tools they need to make an impact.