Parents are their children's first maths teachers

Ewing, Bronwyn F. (2007) Parents are their children's first maths teachers. IQ inside QUT, p. 6.


Parents are their children's first maths teachers

Parents are their children's most important maths teacher because they lay the groundwork for future mathematical learning and understanding in everyday conversations with their children.

Queensland University of Technology Early Childhood mathematics lecturer and researcher Bronwyn Ewing said early mathematics understanding came though language and social interaction.

"In early childhood, children start to acquire language concepts with mathematical concepts embedded in that language," Ms Ewing said.

"Children learn basic mathematical concepts such as size, temperature, space, length and time by using language that connects with their practical experience of these concepts.

"An understanding of common words of comparison such as over, under, big, small, tall, short, slow, fast, near, far, hot and cold gives children the tools for thinking about, investigating and communicating mathematical ideas.

"If children are provided with opportunities to talk mathematically, then they can enter mathematical conversations which will enhance their learning."

Ms Ewing said parents should look for everyday opportunities and interactions to build these words into conversation and thus enrich their conversations with their children.

"For example, they can ask their child or describe for their child what they are doing as they go in and come out of their cubby or getting on or off the ferry," Ms Ewing said.

"They can ask a child to show them their little truck and their big truck or ask them which object is bigger. This is one way they learn comparative language which leads to an understanding of the measurement of mass.

"These words form the foundation for future construction and understanding of mathematical concepts and are more effective than trying to teach a young child 1 + 1=2."

Parents who are aware of "mathematical opportunities" in everyday encounters will enrich their conversations with their children and enhance their child's mathematical understanding," Ms Ewing said.

"The experiences children have in their first five years significantly affect what they learn in later years.

"If children are not supported with practice, social interaction and play when they are developing mathematical concepts, it can be more difficult for them to learn and make connections with formal mathematics later on.

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ID Code: 13878
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional Information: The contents of this publication can be freely accessed online via the publication's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: early childhood, language, mathematics, parents
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 QUT
Deposited On: 25 Jun 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:00

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