Introduction

Introduction
Singing nursery rhymes to your infant, comparing the heights of block towers, splitting an apple between two children: all these simple activities prepare your child for math.

Singing nursery rhymes to your infant, comparing the heights of block towers, splitting an apple between two children: all these simple activities prepare your child for math.

Does the word “math” scare you? Introducing your toddler to math concepts is actually a lot easier than it seems. Simply by talking to her frequently about numbers and measurements, you can help her succeed later in school.

Early on, long before they go to school, children develop a natural curiosity about math. We don’t realize it, but they use what’s often referred to as logico-mathematical intelligence to analyze, think and problem solve every day.

The family and childcare providers play a major role in math awareness.

“It’s the ability to count, sort and categorize things; to establish logical links between objects and to solve complex problems. It’s what allows a child very early on to count or recount her beads, sort pictures or objects she likes, or even to want to know the “why” and “how” of things,” explains Sonia Fournier, author of Les 8 intelligences de votre enfant (Your child’s eight intelligences).

Using math… from six months old!
From six months old, infants are able to discriminate between small collections containing different numbers of elements (e.g.: between collections of two and three elements), and can even make the distinction between greater numbers, provided the numerical ratio between the two collections is large (e.g.: between 16 and 32, but not between 8 and 12). These skills build the foundation for future math learning.
Source: http://www.enfant-encyclopedie.com/Pages/PDF/SophianANGxp.pdf

How to help your child: three winning attitudes

  • Encourage play and discovery
    Children learn through play. Letting your child guide you through her own interests keeps things spontaneous, which will encourage her to play with numbers and to talk about them. Remember also that your child learns through her senses, so using objects she can see and touch is always a great idea!
  • Plant math seeds everywhere
    Repetition is the key to understanding, so take advantage of routine daily activities (e.g.: bath time, mealtime and story time) to introduce your child to the numbers and shapes around her. For example, let her play with different size containers in the bath, or count her toes when you change her diaper. You can also explain to her how the objects around her work and what they’re used for, as well as the relationship between them. Encourage her to ask questions, find solutions and explain how she does such and such a thing (e.g.: What’s the first thing you put on when you get dressed? Do you first put on your shoes or your socks?).
  • Respect your child’s development
    Children develop skills progressively and at their own pace. Wait until she’s ready before introducing more complex concepts to make sure your child doesn’t get discouraged.