Young children encounter important mathematics experiences in natural settings where they are encouraged to play, interact, follow their interests, and build on their existing knowledge. Research has shown that early mathematics skills, especially related to counting, are linked to later academic achievement, even more so than early literacy skills (Duncan et al., 2007).
Children Learn Through Play
The early math team explores ways that young children actively construct number word sequences and counting schemes. These opportunities usually present themselves in the context of play, where children engage in counting and interacting with physical materials. To support these opportunities, we take advantage of children’s natural activities and explore ways to adapt them for specific learners.
Teachers Learn Through Listening
We believe that as early childhood teachers come to better understand children’s ways of thinking through active listening, they can respond during play to maximize children’s learning opportunities. AIMS teacher-researchers work side by side with local early learning teachers, helping them to recognize mathematical opportunities for learning and adapt their instruction to value children’s mathematics. The Early Math Team at the AIMS Center advocates for play-based experiences that lead to meaningful mathematics learning.