Practical Approaches to Teaching Kindergarten Math
Article by Jim Wheelin
Kindergarten is a time for active growth and exploration. Five-year-olds love learning about the world through hands-on discovery. Math can be a particularly fun subject to teach, as it starts with the basic concepts of counting and sorting. Both teachers and parents need to be actively involved with teaching their kindergartener about math concepts, as these are the building blocks for all other subjects.
In order to teach kindergarten math to a young child, it’s important that you’re aware of what can be expected from a five-year-old. Kindergarten can be especially challenging, as students are coming from many different backgrounds. Some children may have attended two years of preschool, others may have attended one and some may not have gone to preschool at all.
With the various backgrounds that children have when coming to kindergarten, you’ll find that some can count, sort, identify shapes and handle basic addition, while others cannot. Since one style of teaching won’t be able to meet the learning styles of all students, it’s important to have practical learning aids that can be used for additional math help. For example, online printable worksheets can help children practice writing and recognizing numbers. Many provide numbers that can be traced, as well as color-by-number activities.
Kindergarteners also learn using visual tools such as abacuses and algebra tiles. Providing these learning aids are a great way to enhance the curriculum and work with students one-on-on to see where they may be struggling. Since the demands of teaching math to a large classroom can be time-consuming, many teachers are implementing adaptive learning tools into their curriculum. Adaptive learning takes place over the computer and includes interactive games and puzzles packed with real educational value.
What makes adaptive learning programs so valuable is that they are tailored to each individual student instead of offering one large-style of teaching. The software is interactive, taking the place of a parent or teacher and encouraging the child to work toward the answer using a variety of math techniques. Even better, any student can use these online programs to better understand kindergarten math. For accelerated students, the material will be faster paced with fewer hints given and introduce first and second grade topics. For students that are struggling in math, the games will continue to exercise the math concepts until they are fully understood.
By incorporating the right tools into each lesson plan, you can stay on top of each child’s progress and ensure that your students are grasping the lessons within the curriculum. Parents too can use the same learning programs in their homes, keeping the material consistent between home and school. The programs also help instructors stay on track with what types of material kindergarteners should be working toward and practical strategies for accomplishing these goals.
Not only is it essential to recognize which goals are reasonable for a kindergarten math lesson, but also which approaches are most beneficial such as by incorporating visual tools or teaching memorization techniques. No matter how your students learn, it’s important to offer a variety of tools that foster various learning styles within one classroom setting. Even though children do comprehend material differently, you will find several strategies that are effective on a large scale. Teaching kindergarten math is challenging but rewarding, and by leveraging practical learning aids and techniques, math will be most enjoyable for everyone.
About the Author
Jim Wheelin writes about many different educational topics for parents and kids. He is always keeping an eye out for the latest teaching techniques and tools, including how to help those kids who struggle to understand kindergarten math. Jim also likes to test out-of-the-box educational resources such as http://www.dreambox.com/kindergarten-math-games