As if you did not have enough to worry about, add a new line item to the list of things a mom has to do: teaching preschoolers to count. A new study by the University of Missouri notes that merely reciting numbers in preparation of preschool is insufficient. Researchers discovered that teaching a preschooler to assign "numerical values to objects in chronological order" yields a harvest of math readiness come first grade. Children who could count to 20 in preschool had the highest math scores during the first year in elementary school. Teaching kids to count is actually easy, enjoyable, and fun if you make it a game.
1. Make Numbers a Daily Topic of Discussion
Teaching preschoolers to count begins with an introduction to the numbers. The California Teachers Association suggests calendars, toy phones, and dominoes. I have had good luck with the calendar, which held great fascination for both of my children. Entering preschool with the ability to count to 31 is no small feat! The trick? Do something with the numbers daily.
2. Encourage Counting at Home
Teaching a preschooler to count can be as simple as taking a look at the shoes next to the door. How many shoes are there? Two? Have the child count whatever is in the home but start small. Two shoes, four forks, or five light switches are enough for early counters.
3. Make a Physical Connection
Iowa Public Television explains that teaching preschoolers math requires the child to have a real world understanding of what the numeric values mean. If you are counting shoes, let the preschooler touch each shoe as he counts. Remember that the concept of numbers is rather abstract. It requires a bit of gymnastics of the brain to connect this concept to an actual quantity. Physical touch makes the numbers real.
4. Remember to Include Zero
Learning how to teach a child to count also includes management of the number zero. Abelard explains that the absence of a countable item should not be designated as a "nothing." Instead, when teaching kids to count apples, the absence of apples on the table should be expressed as "zero apples."
5. Kids Are Big on Visuals
I have found that a set of beanbags in a rainbow of colors is a perfect teaching tool. Write numbers on the beanbags, use them to throw around, and quiz the youngsters on the number displayed. Beanbags provide a tactile teaching tool for counting.
Teaching kids to count is really quite simple. Start with a good measure of fun, add consistency, and do not neglect to appeal to all types of learning. Before you know it, your child will enter preschool with a good grasp on numbers.
More Math Advice from Sylvia Cochran