Young children are natural learners. They bring an informal mathematical knowledge (or number sense) and experience into the pre-school classroom. The kindergarten curriculum should cherish this natural urge to learn and further the informal mathematical experiences of children, by first grounding them in the practical laws of this area of knowledge.
Acquiring math skills follows a developmental sequence. Children learn the structure and pattern of math before they can understand and use its terminology and symbols. Numbers are symbols quantifying something. Recognising or identifying the symbol does not imply an understanding of the concept they represent. Most often our schools are working with children on numerals before teaching them what the number symbols mean (very often the symbol one is represented by one apple or one toffee, however this too does not empower a child to understand in totality what the figure means). Counting is more than merely memorising of a sequence of words.
The author is a kindergarten teacher trainer and a remedial therapist. She can be reached at [email protected].