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Patterns are everywhere. Numbers are everywhere. And, as we’ve come to appreciate in recent weeks, learning is everywhere.

Sometimes we just need a little support to help us discover learning in our daily lives. A new cross-REL resource page titled Teaching Math to Young Children: Resources for Families and Caregivers is designed to provide that guidance. The new resource is a collaborative effort from three Regional Educational Laboratories: Appalachia, Central, and Northwest.

Taking key elements from the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide Teaching Math to Young Children and the REL Appalachia facilitator guide Community Math Night, as well as a pair of videos from REL Northwest– Two Strategies to Help Your Child Learn to Love Math and Two Classroom Strategies to Reduce Students’ Math Anxiety–this resource page is designed by the RELs to help families and caregivers develop their children’s math skills by engaging in simple and straightforward learning activities that incorporate everyday objects, routines, etc. These activities are organized by math topic and are easy to follow along with.

Educational research has shown that children can recognize basic math principles at a very young age. This ability becomes more pronounced between the ages of two and five, meaning this is a crucial time for young learners to develop their math skills. Given recent school closures due to COVID-19, families and caregivers can now access this new set of online math resources as they continue to foster a positive learning environment for their children during this critical time.

By supporting children’s natural interest toward math, families and caregivers can pave the way for them to enjoy the discipline. This REL Appalachia infographic shows how early math success opens doors for future success in college and careers, so the more you can do to enhance your child’s math skills early in their development, the better.

Components of Teaching Math to Young Children: Resources for Families and Caregivers include:

Number and operations. Young learners will often ask questions like “How many?” or “How much?” This section will help parents and caregivers learn how to build upon this natural curiosity and develop children’s number skills.

Geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis. This section provides opportunities to lay the foundation for algebraic reasoning through the observation of patterns in daily routines. By providing young learners with a wide variety of materials and experiences as outlined in this section, you can also support their developing sense of geometry, measurement, and data analysis geometrically.

Support math throughout the day. This section explores ways in which math can be made more meaningful to a child by connecting it to their everyday experiences. Simply using household objects like boxes and cups can go a long way toward creating a math-rich environment and enhancing a young learner’s math skills.

View and describe the world mathematically. Applying some of the concepts learned in previous sections, these activities will help children develop basic problem-solving skills, verbalize numerical representations of objects they deal with regularly, and ask/respond to open-ended questions that further augment their math skills.

Observe and build on what your child knows. Children learn new things in different ways and at different rates. By effectively monitoring your young learner’s progress, you can better help their math skill development as they continue to build on their abilities and evolve into more advanced stages of math knowledge.

All the activities and resources provided in Teaching Math to Young Children: Resources for Families and Caregivers are meant to be seamlessly integrated into your daily life and enhance the time you spend with your child. Given that we’re spending more time than normal in our homes to comply with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you can engage your child in new and entertaining ways that also improve their foundational math skills.

This resource page will be updated with more activities and videos in the coming months, so be sure to check back during the summer and autumn to see what’s new!