HOW MATHS AT HOME CAN HELP YOUNG CHILDREN
Young children who engage in math activities at home with their parents not only improve their math skills, but also their general vocabulary, according to research from Purdue University. The findings are published online in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
Amy Napoli, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies who led the study, says, "One of the reasons could be the dialogue that happens when parents are teaching their children about math and asking questions about values and comparisons, which helps these young children improve their oral language skills."
Parents can encourage math learning at home in many ways, like talking about counting, connecting numbers to quantities and comparing values - more and less. For instance the mother tells her child, "I have left you three cookies for a snack" rather than "I have left you cookies for a snack."
"This focus on math doesn't usually happen at home, but when parents do include math concepts it can make a difference," said Napoli, who is working on tools to help parents improve math-related instruction at home. "When working with families there is a math-related anxiety aspect, and that is probably why more parents focus on literacy than on math. But if you can count, then you can teach something to your child."
This study evaluated 116 preschool children, ages 3-5. The researchers assessed the children's math and language skills in the fall and spring of the preschool year.