I deal with K-12 students so I was wondering what kind of math instruction is appropriate for pre-schoolers?

Preschool is a pretty wide range so math really depends on what age group you are talking about. Studies indicate we should avoid worksheets with young children, so hands on counting of all kinds, using a balance scale, matching numerals to sets, number sequences with numeral marked items (like train cars), measuring with blocks (Joel is 5 blocks tall), recognizing coins (depends on age - some are too small), playing store, pouring-type measuring (how many red cups does it take to fill up the blue cup), sorting small to large, tall to short, etc. If you can find it, a great older resource is Mary Baratta-Lorton's "Workjobs" or "Workjobs II." Preschool is so much fun!!! I created my own workjobs - it can be an addictive habit because it's so much fun to find ways to keep the children engaged in learning activities.

Also color, shape, and number recognition--we practice these mostly through hands on games. Also don't forget sorting by shape, color, size.

Seich30, I'm glad you posted about geometric shapes. I woke up last night realizing I failed to include that. I would add to the sorting, be alert to "unique" sorting. I had a child sort things and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what he was doing. When I asked him what the various groups were, they included, "the ones I like and the ones I don't like." It was a lesson to me that my preconceived outcomes may hinder my ability to see creative problem solving in action. Also look for opportunities to talk about things like more and less than and estimations. Who needs worksheets? Life is full of math. Telephone numbers, addresses, counting days on the calendar until the next special event or that Sunday through Saturday is always 7 days, counting napkins while giving all their friends one for snack, counting heads going and coming from the playground, what to do with leftovers after passing out 2 cookies each, etc. Kathy S.

Oh, and I do alot of charting responses--which can be math. Which apple did you like best? What your favorite color is? etc..

I visited a classroom where a teacher had used a poloroid camera whenever children wore a pattern to school. She took pictures of the clothes without capturing the child's head. It was great because the children remembered who was wearing the clothes and could tell me what the pattern was and how it was different from other photos. That day, one child had on the same clothes and the boy showing me brought her to me so he could show me the photo and the real garment. It was exciting to see the light come on and his excitement as he made that connection. There are just so many fun things to do. Older classrooms chart lost teeth - we get to do just about everything else!

With the 2 1/2 year old that I watch, we do a lot of baking. I'll tell Danny how many cups I need, and then his job is counting...with groups of more kids we'll take turns stirring- everyone gets 10 stirs and we count out loud...

We use a pre-packaged program called "Growing with Mathematics." I do like that it is completely hands-on, no worksheets, lots of songs and games, but I think the skills are too easy. We cover things in these areas: numbers and operations (counting orally, counting objects, numeral recognition, making and combining and comparing sets) geometry (2D and 3D shapes, positional vocabulary) measurement (graphing, measurement with non-standard units, the passage of time, comparing sizes by length, width, height and volume, sequencing) same and different (includes colors, sorting, classification) patterning I think that's it... Kim

It's kind of interesting...at the daycare center I use to run, I had to run all my advertisements (did I spell that right-it looks funny?) and such by our marketing director to approve them (it was for la ocal YWCA). I had always marketed math into our curriculum standards. She told me one day that I shouldn't market math because little kids don't really do math. I looked at her and said, "what do you think colors, shapes, and numerals are"? It's funny to think that some people only consider the term math for when we add, subtract, multiply, and divide etc. Anyways...I was going to add cooking until I saw Danny'sNanny put it. I think cooking and baking is an excellent way in providing skills in not only math, but small motor as well.

My students are at the pre-k level so this might not apply to you but I recently started using playing cards with my math units. They are great for matching, sorting and number recognition! I also taught the children the concept of higher and lower amounts. So they basically play the card game War, although I changed the name to High-low. And some people may disagree with me but in my classroom I teach lots of different math concepts. Some that you probably wouldn't find in most standard preschool text books. I mean we aren't doing algebra or anything, but as long as the children are learning and enjoying themselves, you can try just about anything.

It's great to be able to challenge children. Children wont learn what they haven't been exposed to. That's a great idea, about the playing cards. It has crossed my mind to try something like that, but I kind of just forgot about it. I'll have to add that one on to my next lesson plan.