With all the negative reports about America’s high school students’ poor performance in math compared to their counterparts worldwide, educators have determined that the lack of readiness when they enter school is part of the reason that many students never catch up. Research has shown that good instruction in a child’s early grades is crucial in helping them later when they must master more complex concepts. This is particularly important in closing the achievement gap between low-income children and their counterparts from higher-income families.
In her article, “New Calculation: Math in Preschool,” Wall Street Journal’s education reporter describes a promising new teaching protocol for preschool math. About 300 preschool teachers in Chicago have received training in The Early Mathematics Education Project at Erikson Institute, a nonprofit graduate school in child development. This program incorporates math into all preschool activities even though the students probably are not aware of it. Teachers use their preschool activities to teach “fundamental math concepts such as connecting numerals to quantity, building patterns, and the idea that adding something, or someone, creates a larger number.” All of this effort is designed to create mathematical thinking; they develop reasoning and logical thinking skills.