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A chalkboard with text and a math problem 1 2 3 4 5

Rollover the recommendation numbers above for more information.

  • Provide opportunities to practice recognizing the total number of objects in small collections (one to three items) and labeling them.
  • Promote accurate one-to-one counting to identify the total number of items in a collection.
  • As students progress, provide opportunities for them to use number words and counting to compare quantities.
  • Encourage them to label collection with number words and numerals.
  • Help students recognize, name, and compare shapes, then teach them to combine and separate shapes.
  • Encourage them to look for and identify patterns, then teach them to extend, correct, and create patterns.
  • Help children learn to use measurement vocabulary words (long and short, big and small) using standard and nonstandard units and tools of measurement.
  • Help them collect and organize information, like toys and blocks, then teach them to represent that information by drawing.
  • Use introductory activities, observations, and assessments to determine each child's existing math knowledge.
  • Tailor instruction to each child's needs, and relate new ideas to his or her existing knowledge.
  • Assess, record, and monitor each child's progress, and adjust instructional goals and methods as needed.
  • Encourage children to use informal methods to represent math concepts, such as "more" and "all together."
  • Use open-ended questions to prompt children to apply their math knowledge.
  • Encourage children to recognize and talk about math in everyday situations such as during recess, snack, transition, and small and large-group time.
  • Plan daily instruction targeting specific math concepts and skills.
  • Embed math in classroom routines and activities such as taking attendance and snack time.
  • Create a math-rich environment and highlight math within other topics of study.
  • Use games to teach math concepts and skills.

The Gateway to Math Success

Image of Gate Help students open the gateway to math success with recommendations from the WWC practice guide, Teaching Math to Young Children.

Recommendation 1 (3.7 MB): Teach number and operations using a developmental progression.

Recommendation 2 (3.7 MB): Expose students to math that extends beyond number and operations to include a range of math content areas using a developmental progression.

Recommendation 3 (3.7 MB): Monitor progress to ensure that math instruction builds on what each child knows.

Recommendation 4 (3.7 MB): Teach children to view and describe their world mathematically.

Recommendation 5 (3.7 MB): Dedicate time each day to teaching math, and integrate math instruction throughout the school day.

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Return to the main page to learn more about finding evidence-based strategies, programs, and practices to start preschoolers on the journey to academic success.

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