Early Math

If classroom instruction is:

  • Intentional, aligned with standards, and designed to be student-centered and personalized (or relevant) to the needs of the students in the classroom,
  • Integrated so that it brings relevance and rigor to the learning, allows students to connect ideas and transfer knowledge across content areas,
  • Supported with timely and focused interventions when necessary, then student achievement and engagement in early literacy and mathematics will increase.

The state academic standards simply state the goals; designing and implementing instruction that support students in achieving these goals is a decision made by educators in local districts and classrooms. The Office of Education Improvement and Innovation has launched the Early Literacy and Mathematics Initiative to support educators with successful implementation of the state standards for English Language Arts and mathematics. Messaging and supports are designed to highlight six examples of instructional practices, three for early literacy and three for early mathematics.

Specific Mathematics Instructional Practices

There are many specific instructional practices that have been shown to be effective in raising the mathematics achievement of children in prekindergarten through third grade. We have chosen to highlight practices focused on learning-progressions, language-rich and play-based classrooms, and integration. Our criteria for selecting these three example practices were as follows: (a) supported by research (see below); (b) could be used in different parts of the school day (e.g., in science as well as during time set aside specifically for reading and writing instruction); (c) relatively easy to implement; and (d) enhanced other approaches districts, schools, and teachers may already be using to teach literacy. In addition, these particular example practices have been written in school-improvement friendly language so that these goals can easily be included as resources to support school improvement plans.

Early Mathematics Instructional Practices

Learning Progressions Language & Play Integration
Ensure appropriate learning progressions are taught for number and operations, geometry, patterns, and data analysis. Promote language rich classrooms that also incorporate play based instruction to allow for multiple representations of ideas, processes, and solutions Integrate mathematics instruction across content areas that builds on existing knowledge and is applicable to daily lives.

Find research to support these practices in Supporting Early Literacy Instructional Practices.

Resources to Support Early Math Instruction

World Family Map 2015: Mapping Family Change and Child Well-Being Outcomes Source: Child Trends - September 24, 2015

New Video Series to Help Support Early Math Skills in Infants and Toddlers Source: ZERO TO THREE - September 24, 2015

Tipping the Scales: The Resilience Game Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University - September 22, 2015