The Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program

Growing with Mathematics

Developing Mathematical Skills for Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten

mfsfall2016__286Initially, much of the mathematics learning that takes place in our Beginnings classrooms comes from the children’s play.  Children develop geometric concepts as they build with blocks or sort buttons according to their shape. As they work at the water table or sand tray, children develop ideas that lay the foundation for work with measurement. When they recognize and repeat a pattern of actions or sounds, they beginning to develop concepts that are fundamental to algebraic thinking.

In the spring of the preschool year and continuing through fourth grade, students more formally explore mathematical concepts through the Growing with Mathematics program.  The Growing with Math program ensures that understanding and skills are developed simultaneously.  It equips students with a variety of thinking strategies they can use to solve problems effectively and confidently. It supports The National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTM) standards and the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines. Extensive field testing and in-depth research determined the mathematical content and sequence of the program, as well as the teaching methods it promotes.  At each grade level, all components and learning experiences are carefully designed to match students’ interests and abilities.  Basic fact practice and regular assessment are an important part of the program.

Mathematics Classroom Concepts

A major focus of number work in the Beginnings Program is to help children learn to count accurately and with understanding. Children also begin to compare and order numbers, using concrete materials and then symbols. Number concepts are developed through activities that involve:

    • Estimating and counting objects, both concrete and 141030-morgado-0089pictorial
    • Working with different representations of numbers
    • Comparing and ordering groups of concrete objects
    • Recognizing and beginning to write number symbols
    • Using the language of ordinal numbers
    • Joining numbers together and breaking numbers apart
    • Making equal groups and sharing

Algebraic thinking is developed beginning in preschool through activities that involve:

    • Sorting and classifying concrete objects or pictures
    • Identifying, describing, creating, copying, and extending patterns of sounds, actions, or objects
    • Determining the sorting “rule”
    • Examining qualitative and quantitative change
    • Using objects, pictures, and symbols to represent numbers

Geometry is an intuitive part of mathematics for young children, who are naturally interested in the shape, size, and position of objects in the world around them. Geometric concepts and related language are developed through children:

    • Describing the relative position of objects in the real world and in pictures
    • Investigating the characteristics and properties of 3-D solids and 2-D shapes, and describing their attributes; for example, a triangle has three sides
    • Hearing and beginning to use formal names for 3-D and 2-D shapes.

Young children love to measure and compare.  In the Beginnings Program the focus is on helping children identify, describe, and compare measurable attributes such as length, size, weight, and capacity. Activities that help develop concepts related to measurement and measuring time include:

    • Describing measurable attributes; for example, using the words long and short to describe length
    • Identifying which object has more or less of a given attribute
    • Ordering objects according to a given attribute
    • Measuring length using cubes or blocks placed end to end
    • Determining the number of units needed to cover an area
    • Ordering events in a story or everyday situation
    • Working with a calendar that shows the days of the school week and months of the year

Our young investigators and scientists
participate in a variety of activities that contributedsc_3045 to the development of data analysis skills including:

    • Classifying objects as the same or different, according to an attribute such as color, size, or shape
    • Sorting concrete or pictorial objects
    • Interpreting simple graphs and charts
    • Making simple graphs and charts; for example, by sorting concrete objects on a graphing mat, answering yes/no questions on a clothespin graph, making a weather graph, and making a glyph

Foundation for 15-year Mathematics Program

The mathematics curriculum in Beginnings is the foundation on which a 15-year mathematics curriculum is built at Moorestown Friends School, advancing to AP Calculus BC in the Upper School. Our students’ average Math SAT score typically ranges between 623-634, always the highest in South Jersey by a significant margin.