The Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" just published a commentary I wrote about how to improve children's grasp of math in the early years. It's a call to parents to build math moments into the morning routine, just as book reading is part of the bedtime drill. To make something like this work, we'll need preschool teachers and elementary school teachers to help parents recognize their own capacity for helping their kids, providing them with creative ideas that make math accessible and easy. I've included some of those ideas in the post below, but I'd love to find more. Please don't hesitate to add your feedback and ideas to the comment section below or at the Answer Sheet site, where parents are chiming in.
Bedtime = book time. Parents know that equation by heart, or at least they're supposed to. The drill goes like this: Just before the goodnight kiss, we snuggle up with our young kids, open a book, and read with them. Okay, so maybe at first we have to beg them to just settle down. And maybe the baby is more prone to eat the pages than look at them. But still, we try. We're the ones responsible for these little human beings. It's part of our job.
Mathematics, on the other hand, that's not on the must-do list. Reading may be part of the raising-kids routine. Math -- not so much.