San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 10, 2012
California’s preschools face a number of challenges in implementing a high quality math curriculum, according to an EdSource report released today, titled Math in a Child’s World: Policy and Practical Challenges for Preschool Mathematics.
The issue has gained greater urgency as a result of several compelling studies showing 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 and success in school, even more than reading.
“Math at a preschool level has not received the attention it deserves,” said Chris Roe, CEO of the California STEM Learning Network. “We hope this report will be useful in illustrating the key challenges and describing needed changes in order to ensure that all children arrive in kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed.”
Among the challenges pointed to in the report were the following:
“The key to a successful math curriculum at a preschool level is not a formal math program, but integrating math concepts into daily interactions and activities of children themselves,” said Louis Freedberg, EdSource’s executive director and author of the report. “Many preschool staff would benefit from greater preparation and training to acquire the skills they need to do introduce math concepts into a child’s world in a seamless way.”
Complicating the task of overcoming these obstacles are the differences in approaches and quality among the vast array of preschool settings in California serving the over 1 million 3 to 4-year-olds in California -- from home-based care and privately run centers to state subsidized preschools and those offered on public school sites.
“A major task facing the state is how to reach the large numbers of children who are not in any preschool programs, in low quality ones, or in family-based care without an educational component,” said Freedberg.
The EdSource report was based on interviews of participants at two California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) Early Math convenings held at California State University, East Bay and the University of California, Irvine, along with follow-up interviews with educators involved with teacher training, experts focusing on preschool education in California, and program administrators.
CSLNet, with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, helped underwrite the report, which is the first to take a deeper look at the challenges of offering quality math content at a preschool level.
About the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet)
The California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) is working to catalyze how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is taught and learned in the state in order to prepare the nation’s most STEM-capable graduates. Established as a non-profit in 2010, CSLNet brings together stakeholders from K-12, higher education, business and industry, governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and philanthropies. Through this cross-sector collaboration, CSLNet fosters innovation and helps to scale and sustain effective STEM teaching and learning during formal and informal education settings for all students. Website: http://www.cslnet.org
EdSource is an independent, non-profit research and policy organization with a 35-year history of excellence in providing independent data and highly respected research, reporting and analysis on key education issues. Its goal is to promote sound education policies, enhance public engagement, and highlight successful practices and strategies that will result in improved learning outcomes. Website: http://www.edsource.org