The Early Math online environment is full of ideas. Rooted in these ideas are the Early Math Collaborative’s Approach to Foundational Math and Approach to Teaching and Learning.
Approach to Foundational Math
Without a strong foundation, a tall building would not stand for long. Likewise, without a strong foundation in mathematical concepts — such as patterns, size and shape, and location and direction — children can struggle to understand the more complex mathematical thinking they need later in life.
We have taken the most current research from the fields of cognitive science and mathematics education to create a set of 26 Big Ideas: key mathematical concepts that lay the foundation for life-long mathematical learning and thinking. While these concepts can be explored at any early age, they are powerful enough that children can and should engage with them for years to come.
These Big Ideas are organized according to topically-related subjects, or foci. These math content foci were carefully selected by Early Math Collaborative instructors and staff and are presented in our book: Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
Early Math Online
With our approach to the Big Ideas in mind, this website provides avenues for focusing on them. It also aligns to the Common Core State Standards so that educators, trainers, and researchers can more easily find what they are looking for according to state standards.
Approach to Teaching and Learning
The best way to improve classroom instruction is to change what teachers believe and do — not just what they know. In short: Knowledge + attitude + practice = success
It’s the “whole teacher approach” to professional development. Just as the “whole child” concept supports effective early childhood teaching and learning, the whole teacher approach recognizes that the greatest impact comes by supporting all aspects of a teacher’s growth and development.
For more information about the Whole Teacher Approach and other materials we have written concerning best practices, you can visit the Research from the Collaborative series.
Early Math Online
Our goal is to improve and provide resources for real-world teaching. This means not just accumulating and distributing knowledge about foundational mathematics, but providing resources that have other implications for teaching, affecting attitudes and practice as well. Resources need to be relevant, easy-to-find, and assigned importance for classroom and training applications.
Just as there are tools to focus on specific foundational math concepts on this website, there are other tools for exploring. These are the categories, grade, series, “Why this is important,” and additional tags that can help teachers, trainers, researchers, and others find specific content that can assist them.