Early Years Resources for Mathematics Teachers

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Recommended Online Resources

A Good Start to Numeracy: Effective Numeracy Strategies from Research and Practice in Early Childhood

By: Brian Doig, Barry McCrae, and Ken Rowe
Available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/school_education/publications_resources/profiles/good_start_to_numeracy.htm

This 63-page literature review was carried out for the Australian government. It gives an overview of the research and practice in early childhood numeracy on children between birth and eight years of age. The emphasis is on examining the research literature for effective strategies and practices. Summaries of these, along with suggested activities for child care and classroom settings, are presented at the end of each section.

Building Blocks

By: Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama
Available at: http://gse.buffalo.edu/org/buildingblocks/index_2.htm

Building Blocks is a research-based mathematics program that uses technologically-enhanced materials for young children in pre-K through Grade 2. The program focuses on two main topical areas: (a) spatial and geometric competencies and concepts and (b) numeric and quantitative concepts. The name Building Blocks was chosen because the technology emphasizes the key ideas, or building blocks, upon which mathematical knowledge is built. Accordingly, the program’s computer activities situate key mathematical ideas in everyday situations and engage children in mathematical procedures that are connected to these concepts.

Creative Pathways to Math: Development of Mathematical Concepts

By: Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama
Available at: http://www2.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/ECTonline/developmentofmathematicalconcepts_1_2_03.pdf

This developmental chart outlines what children can understand about numbers, shapes and measurement at ages three, four, and five.

Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development

Available at: http://literacyencyclopedia.ca/

This web-based resource developed by the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet) helps provide answers to questions about children’s language, literacy, and numeracy development. Early learning childcare practitioners can draw on the Encyclopedia for reliable, evidence-based information to support their daily practices. The Encyclopedia includes an extensive section on numeracy development, with contributions from leading numeracy researchers around the world. For sample entries, see chapters on Acquisition of Early Numeracy and Basic and Environmental Processes Underlying Numeracy Acquisition.

Fostering Early Number Sense

By: Arthur J. Baroody
Available at: http://www.excellence-earlychildhood.ca/documents/Arthur_BaroodyANG.pdf

In this keynote presentation that took place at the 40th Annual Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science Effective Early Learning Programs: Research, Policy and Practice in March 2008, the author concludes that verbal skills are important in fostering early understanding of numbers.

Math Play: How Young Children Approach Math

By: Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama
Available at: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3747373

The authors present the case that mathematical experiences for very young children should build largely upon their play and the natural relationships between learning and life in their daily activities, interests, and questions. They give examples and make concrete suggestions on how to put these principles into practice in the early childhood classroom. Look for more ideas in other articles on this website by the same authors.

Number Worlds

By: Sharron Griffin
Available at: http://clarku.edu/numberworlds/index.htm

Number Worlds is a research-based mathematics program for young children developed by Sharon Griffin, a researcher at Clark University in the United States. This program teaches specific math concepts and skills that are the foundation for later mathematical learning. It provides hands-on games and activities that encourage children to construct their own mathematical meanings. The website for Number Worlds includes sample activities, videos of classroom practice, as well as sample assessment tools.

Numerical Knowledge in Early Childhood

By: Catherine Sophian
Available at: http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/pages/PDF/SophianANGxp.pdf

This article in the online Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development discusses the variability and malleability of young children’s numerical thinking, which indicates the potential for early childhood instructional programs to contribute substantially to children’s growing knowledge about numbers.

PreKorner™ Early Childhood Numeracy Resources

Available at: http://www.designedinstruction.com/prekorner/early-numeracy.html

This section is part of the website of Designed Instruction, an educational consulting firm in Texas. This website provides background information on early numeracy, with links to research reports and suggestions for age-appropriate, play-based activities.

Recommended Online Activities

Esso Family Math

By: Nancy Chapple, Judi Waters and Linda Adams
Available at: http://www.edu.uwo.ca/essofamilymath

The Esso Family Math Project is a community-based initiative for families who want to help their children experience success in mathematics. It is a research-based program that was developed at the University of Western Ontario. Families learn to use everyday activities and materials to foster learning of mathematical concepts. These activities can be adapted for children in child care settings. Two books can be downloaded in PDF format, one for use with four- to six-year-olds and the other for seven- to ten-year-olds. They include lists of suggested books.

Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins: Mathematics

By: Carol Sue Fromboluti and Natalie Rinck
Available at: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EarlyMath/title.html

This booklet, published by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education in 1999, explains mathematical concepts and gives examples of activities to use with children two to five years old. The emphasis is on integrating activities into play and daily routines. The publication is addressed to parents but ideas are easily adaptable to the child care setting.

Family Math Fun!

By: Kate Nonesuch
Available at: http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/familymath/cover.htm

This ready-to-use manual of family numeracy activities can easily be adapted for a child care setting. Activities include recipes, rhymes, games and crafts. This manual was created as a result of the collaboration between 30 parents in the Cowichan Valley and Kate Nonesuch, an instructor at Vancouver Island University. The manual can be downloaded in PDF format.


Available at: http://www.kinderart.com/littles/littles_numbers.shtml

This website offers some free ideas for simple math-related rhymes, craft and kitchen activities, including variations for different ages, illustrated by videos.

Math Dance

Available at: http://www.mathdance.org

This site focuses on the relationship between movement and learning math. Practitioners will find activities that develop awareness of space, laterality and sequencing.

PBS Parents, Early Math

Available at: http://www.pbs.org/parents/earlymath/

This site, from the U.S. Public Broadcasting System, is aimed at parents, but includes many activity ideas that can easily be adapted to child care settings. Suggestions for creative and fun activities are grouped by age, starting with infants and toddlers. The site also includes simple online games and a list of math-related books for children.

Recommended Print Resources

Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet), & Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF). (2009). Foundations for numeracy: An evidence-based toolkit for the effective mathematics teacher. London, ON: CLLRNet.

This resource kit is designed for elementary school teachers. It includes a summary of research on the development of mathematics skills, along with practical suggestions/tools to help children succeed in mathematics in Grades K-6.

Charner, K., Murphy, M., & Clark, C. (Eds.) (2007). The giant encyclopedia of math activities for children 3 to 6. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House.

This book is one of a popular series advertised as “written by teachers, for teachers.” It describes age-appropriate activities, complete with materials, lists and detailed instructions. An index of math concepts makes it easy to choose activities geared to a broad range of elements that make up numeracy.

Copley, J. M., Jones, C., & Dighe, J. (2007). Mathematics: The creative curriculum approach. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc.

This very complete manual is part of a comprehensive curriculum for children aged three to five. Readers will find age-appropriate activities based on research into how young children learn mathematical concepts and skills. Activities are both child initiated and teacher led. Some are set up as focused lessons and others are integrated into daily routine and play. Tools to assess learning are also included.

Katzen, M. (2005). Salad people and more real recipes: A new cookbook for preschoolers and up. New York: Tricycle Press.

Cooking teaches children about measuring and sequencing. This preschooler friendly cookbook presents healthy and tasty recipes in both words and drawings for non-readers.

Martin, J., & Milstein, V. (2007). Integrating math into the early childhood classroom: Activities and research-based strategies that build math skills, concepts, and vocabulary into classroom routines, learning centers, and more. Markham, ON: Scholastic.

This resource recognizes that three- to five-year-olds learn math concepts best through repetition and practice in daily activities. It offers easy and natural ways to fit math-rich experiences into the daily activities and routines in early learning and child care settings.

Simpson, J. (2005). Circle-time poetry: Math: Delightful poems with activities that help young children build phonemic awareness, oral language, and early math skills. Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Each of the 20 poems in this book is related to a math concept (counting, symmetry, shape, measuring, etc.) and is presented with related movement, craft and language activities, as well as suggested books to extend the learning.

Books for Children

Early learning practitioners are encouraged to ask a children’s librarian to suggest suitable books to help facilitate early math skills. Book lists are available online from the Canadian Association of Young Children at www.cayc.ca/backissues/promolit.pdf and in the Esso Family Math and Family Math Fun! publications noted above. The following titles are just a few examples, with emphasis on award winners and Canadian authors.

Counting Books

For children ages 2 to 6:
Bellfontaine, K. (2008). Canada 1, 2, 3. Toronto: Kids Can Press.

For children ages 3 to 6:
McFarlane, S. (2002). A pod of orcas: A seaside counting book. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

For children ages 3 to 8:
Organ, B. (2004). My Newfoundland and Labrador counting book. St. John’s, NL: Creative Book Publishing.
Taylor, C. (2005). Out on the prairie: A Canadian counting book. Markham, ON: Scholastic.

For children ages 4 to 8:
Thornhill, J. (1990). The wildlife 1, 2, 3: A nature counting book. New York: Simon & Schuster.

For children ages 5 to 8:
Brookes, D. (1990). Passing the peace: A counting book for kids. Manotick, ON: Penumbra Press.
Kusugak, M. (1996). My Arctic 1, 2, 3. Toronto: Annick Press Ltd.

Story Books

Early learning practitioners should look for stories that involve comparing sizes and arranging items in order, for instance Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. All of these books can be read to children, told as a story, or presented as a puppet play. Older children could be instructed to act out these stories. Some books play with the idea of shapes while they tell a story, for instance, The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley.

Songs and Rhymes

Rhymes, songs, finger plays and clapping games often include counting, both normally and in reverse (e.g., Five little monkeys jumping on the bed). Because they usually involve lots of repetition, they also teach children about patterns and sequences.

Recommended Materials for Early Numeracy

Apart from general craft materials and toys, graduated blocks are high on the list of recommended materials for discovering and exploring math concepts. Other math related items can be found in the catalogues of suppliers of products for child care and early learning settings. Even with a small budget, early learning practitioners can find many opportunities to practice math throughout the day by using different shapes, sizes, numbers and patterns. It is easy to introduce math concepts to children!

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