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Is Early Math Skills More Important Than Early Reading?

My son is learning his 1,2,3... to 10 and basic addition in his preschool. I don’t think that is good enough” said Pricilla Adam, mother of 2 sons.

Preschools and prekindergarten classes, in general, are not placing enough focus on early math skills.

Most of the focus is on reading.

Children are taught to memorise only basic numbers from one to 10 and learn basic addition.

According to early learning experts, early math skills are a better predictor of academic success than early reading skills- but preschools are not teaching them.

Early learning psychologist Greg J. Duncan in School readiness and later achievement, published in Developmental Psychology in 2007 said, “Early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills.”

Babies and toddlers are born with math skills.

There is evidence that shows that early addition and subtraction being an innate abilities.

1. Studies were done at the University of Arizona in 1992, where 6 months old babies were shown one baby doll. As the babies watch, a screen was placed in front of the doll, and then a second doll was placed behind the screen.

When the screen was removed, scientists could tell that, at just 6 months old, babies expected to see two dolls. For instance, when fewer or more dolls when the screen was removed, the babies stared longer because the results were wrong, a “violation of expectation”.

2. “Subitize” - research shows that babies have the ability to quickly quantify the number of items in a small group. For example, the baby can identify all the red dots on the flash card with just one glance.

What can we do as parents?

The best way is to “mathematise” your child as early as possible. You can start teaching from as young as 4 months old.

You can do that by using math in games, puzzles, songs and flash cards. Most important is you must make math FUN.

As your child’s first teacher, you can start teaching the essential reading, writing and most importantly, math. Early childhood education begins at home.

Discover how the 178 Days Math Program for babies and toddlers benefit your child.

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