Numbers before letters?

1 Dec

It might not be a great idea to wait until your child hits grade school to start teaching him about math. Two Wilfred Laurier professors in Waterloo, Ont. think learning math concepts before hitting junior kindergarten might lead to a better understanding of the subject throughout school.

Psychology professor Joanne Lee and education professor Donna Kotsopoulos videotaped parents playing with their children and noticed parents spent very little time teaching their children under three about amounts and numbers. “They may be able count to ten,” says Kotsopoulos. “But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Kotsopoulos and Lee are tracking preschoolers who learn math skills against those who don’t, as they get older. But they’re dedicated to preparing preschoolers for a lifetime of math. “We didn’t think just running the study was enough,” said Kotsopoulos. “We wanted parents and children to learn these skills.”

They offered a free series of four-week, no-strings-attached sessions for parents and one-to-two-year-olds at Waterloo public library. They’ll be offering another program in the fall and hope to expand into other cities.

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