Our approach to teaching, professional development, research, and foundational math content is represented in the online content we produce, the book we wrote, the research publications and presentations we produce, and the daily work we do with teachers, trainers, facilitators, and administrators. Rooted in this approach 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, foci, or foundational math concepts. 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).

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 pages of our site.