Math in a Child's World: Policy and Practical Challenges for Preschool Mathematics
Several studies have shown that basic math concepts acquired at a preschool level—including counting, sorting, and recognizing simple patterns and shapes—are the most powerful predictors of later learning, even more than reading.
But preschools face many challenges in implementing a high quality math curriculum, including:
- The paucity of math content in preschool teacher preparation;
- The uneven quality or lack of professional development and in-service learning opportunities for teachers;
- Linking what children learn in preschool with what they are expected to learn in the K-3 grades;
- The barriers imposed by "math anxiety" among many preschool teaching staff
Based on interviews of participants at two California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) Early Math convenings, along with follow-up interviews with educators involved with teacher training, experts focusing on preschool education in California, and program administrators, this report takes a deeper look at those challenges.