Kids’ Education for Number Sense Helps Children Develop 3 Essential Math Skills

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KENS Math Early Education Math Program Prepares Children for a Lifetime of Math Achievement

A teacher and her students practice subitizing and number combinations with the KENS Math flash cards

We use KENS Math daily to supplement our common core standards math. We play the games, use the number lines, and add and subtract using the foamies. I am astounded at the speed and ease the students understand number sense using KENS Math.

A child’s math skills in pre-school and kindergarten are a primary indicator of his or her overall academic success. Yet, research shows that less than 2.5 percent of each school day is spent on teaching young learners mathematics. Today, Young People’s Press introduced Kids’ Education for Number Sense™ (KENS Math), the first supplemental math curriculum developed to teach pre-school, kindergarten and first grade students the most essential skill of early mathematics – number sense.

“Number sense is essentially mathematical common sense, but it is a skill that can be developed through focused activities and brain training,” says Ken Newbury Ph.D., author and creator of the Kids’ Education for Number Sense methodology. “The KENS Math program was developed in the classroom where I watched students embrace number sense learning with enthusiasm. After introducing the program to kindergarten students and teachers in different schools, I saw significant improvements in their number sense skills and their future math abilities.”

The KENS Math methodology focuses on the development of three essential number sense skills:
– subitizing (the ability to see a set of objects instantly without counting)
– creating number combinations
– recognizing number magnitude using number lines

As children practice these skills, they are training their brains to quickly identify sets of numbers, know how numbers relate to each other and solve traditional mathematical equations. Mastery of number sense skills frees children from relying on finger counting which often leads to mistakes and slows students down as they progress to more challenging math work.

A vast amount of research indicates that subitizing, number line, and number magnitude skills are reliable predictors of later math achievement at all grade levels. These skills are essential to the development of basic math skills including addition and subtraction. Linear board games and play-based math games also reinforce those skills.

Dr. Newbury spent 11 years as an elementary school principal where he encountered too many third, fourth and fifth graders who struggled to comprehend simple math concepts and facts. Many students fell further behind as they advanced grade levels and struggled under the pressure to perform on state mandated tests. Dr. Newbury began using math assessments he designed to determine the number sense skills of his students and identifying children who need early intervention. Subsequently he began piloting developmentally appropriate activities, manipulatives and games that emphasized number sense development in the classroom. It was from that classroom research that Kids’ Education for Number Sense was born.

Now, Young People’s Press and Dr. Newbury have developed the Kids’ Education for Number Sense classroom kit – an exciting and rewarding collection of manipulatives, games and leveled activities that give educators the tools and the inspiration to teach number sense. The kit includes Teacher’s Edition lesson plans, Teacher’s Resource masters, manipulatives and play-based math games to teach the program. The manipulatives include subitizing flash cards leveled from 1 to 12, individual wooden number lines with sliding beads, “foamies” and game pieces for 25 children.

The Teacher’s Edition lesson plans have simple step-by-step guidelines on how to teach the program and dozens of math games to reinforce number sense skills through play. The resource masters include reproducible number lines, activity sheets, success charts, classroom signs and a letter for parents. All of the materials in KENS Math are contained in a classroom box and have a colorful circus theme that engages students and makes math fun!

KENS Math also includes one-minute assessment tests that educators can use to determine the level at which to start each student and identify which students require increased practice and number sense skill building. Since the program is leveled, it can meet diverse learning needs, including those of English learners and special needs students. Teachers can also use the material as a response to intervention (RTI) program.

The KENS Math program is flexible and can be used in a traditional classroom format, in centers, at home and for structured peer-assisted learning. The program addresses pre-school, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade capabilities. Successful mastery of all of the KENS Math levels will lead to achievement in nearly all of the standards included in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Curriculum Focal Points articulated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

Sara Fox, a kindergarten teacher at Franklin Monroe Elementary School in Arcanum, Ohio, embraced KENS Math as a math tool for kids after experiencing years of frustration because her students did not seem to be developing basic number sense. Her whole class has responded well to the curriculum and she has found it very easy to implement.

“We use KENS Math daily to supplement our common core standards math. We play the games, use the number lines, and add and subtract using the foamies. I am astounded at the speed and ease the students understand number sense using KENS Math,” Fox says. “The most amazing part to me is how they ‘see’ the numbers on the number lines and in their heads. Now they are able to figure out word problems and math facts based on their new number sense knowledge.”

The complete KENS Math kit costs $495 and is available for purchase through independent sales representatives and on Individual components and manipulative sets are also available for purchase on the KENS Math website. KENS Math assessment tests, reproducibles and other resources are available free to teachers at

About Young People’s Press
Young People’s Press is devoted to the education and personal development of children in preschool through eighth grade. Through the development of high-quality educational materials and books, Young People’s Press has been serving the education market for nearly 20 years. The company’s educational materials are aligned with how students learn and interact with each other, and are based on academic, classroom and behavioral research.

The company offers educational materials and lesson plans for the language arts and most recently introduced Kids’ Education for Number Sense (KENS Math). KENS Math is an exciting and rewarding program that helps early learners develop a deeply rooted number sense, a key indicator of future math success, and gives educators the tools and the inspiration to teach it.Young People’s Press also offers a wide collection of books that teach positive character development through enriching stories and beautiful art work that represent a dynamic multiculturalism. Themes focus on responsibility, respect, courtesy and many other character attributes that help children establish a rich foundation for social and emotional development. More information about Young People’s Press and its products is available at

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Carla Vallone

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