By Linda Schulman Dacey
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Additional resources for Growing Mathematical Ideas in Kindergarten
She knows that some kindergarten teachers do not designate any time for focused instruction on mathematics, do not begin mathematics instruction until late in October, or do not provide more than ten minutes of mathematical experiences a day. When they ask Becky how she can devote so much time to mathematics, she thinks, How can you not? Once again, her decision is based on what is needed to build mathematical ideas. She is confident in her decision. Challenges remain, however. For example, Becky continues to struggle with questions like: • How much knowledge can children construct without her intervention?
Both decisions make sense given their purpose. Some teachers create patterns on their calendars (for example, the dates in May might be alternated on cards shaped as daisies and tulips to establish an A–B pattern). Becky prefers to use the pocket chart described in Chapter 1 to work with such patterns. However, she does encourage children to notice patterns inherent to the calendar, like the fact that there is never school on Saturdays and Sundays. Every day, after the children have sung a community song about the days in the week, Becky asks the children to predict what that day’s date will be.
These teachers argue that it is more important to nurture children’s independence, creativity, and self-esteem than it is to provide them with teacher-guided activities designed to challenge cognitive development. N 47 But such a separation of goals is unnecessary. If teachers are able to develop children’s ability to do mathematics, they will simultaneously nurture children’s independence, creativity, and self-esteem. To that end, all teachers need to plan meaningful mathematical experiences for their students.
Growing Mathematical Ideas in Kindergarten by Linda Schulman Dacey