The new school year is around the corner and Spark Math by Spark Education wants to make sure kids are ready! Returning after an exciting summer vacation can be a struggle for some students who deal with summer learning loss. Summer learning loss, or the “Summer slide”, refers to students’ loss of some of their educational concepts due to lack of practice during a long vacation. In this new blog series, Spark Math goes over some of the most important math concepts kids should know before returning to school. Here are the “Math kids should know before kindergarten.”
Kindergarten and Math
While kindergarten is a time when kids benefit from more play and play-based learning, it’s also an important time for children to learn a wide range of important skills. While numbers, shapes and other early math concepts are learned through songs, games and activities, these concepts are critical knowledge in math learning. In fact, kindergarten math is one of the most foundational subjects kids need for school and life. For some students, this is the beginning of their educational journey. Whether your child went to pre-K or not, there are some foundational math concepts they need to know before starting kindergarten.. Here are some concepts parents should review or introduce before starting Kindergarten.
Nothing is more foundational in math than numbers. In Pre-K, kids learn how to recognize single-digit numbers and count from 1 to 10. In early education, kids start math learning with manipulatives, like numbers blocks, and toys. With physical representations of the numbers they are learning, kids connect with numbers in a real way. In kindergarten, students start identifying and writing those numbers in a visual or pictorial way.
Counting numbers is more than just remembering the order of numbers, but is the beginning of deeper math concepts like addition and subtraction. When kids start counting objects, they are doing the simplest form of addition. Kids can connect with the importance of counting when they are allowed to take 2 toys with them to visit Grandma or have to eat 5 more pieces of broccoli before they can finish dinner. Numbers and counting aren’t just for school they are part of everyday life.
Ways to use Numbers:
- Point out numbers in the world.
Examples: Addresses, speed limit signs, price tags, phone numbers
- Take time to count objects children use every day.
Examples: Toys, blocks, food
- Ask “how many” about everything your child sees.
Examples: How many birds do you see outside? How many toys do you have to pick up?
2. Shapes, Size, and Placement
Geometry might sound like a tough subject for early education, but some of the first concepts kids learn about are shapes. Pre-K is about learning through play. One of the first educational toys kids play with is the shape matching toy. Pre-K is an exploratory space for kids to learn how to identify the basic shapes. Before children begin Kindergarten, it is important they know all the basic shapes and bonus points if they can draw them too!
Understanding objects isn’t just about what shape they are, but also about the space they take up in the world. In Pre-K, kids learn about size and placement. Kids should know which objects are bigger or smaller, taller or shorter. They should also know how to compare objects to other objects. Concepts describing where objects are (“On top”, “Under”, and “Next to”) help kids better understand and describe the world around them. The ability to judge size and communicate placement will translate directly to more advanced math concepts.
Ways to use Shapes, Size, and Placement:
- Ask kids what shape objects are around the house.
Examples: Fruits, books, and toys.
- Use size to explain differences in objects
Examples: Can you pass me the bigger apple? Can you tell me which string is longer?
- Describe where objects are and where they are going when doing small chores.
Examples: Put your toys inside the closet. Your clothes for school are laying on the bed.
While patterns may not be thought as math, they play a vital role in early math education. Patterns are also see in geometry, number recognition, and arithmetic. Pre-K kids should be able to do the following with patterns.
- Identify a pattern
- Compare patterns
- Continue pattens
- Create their own patterns
Using patterns can be used in counting as well. Creating groups of two or three objects shows the connection between individual items and groups. This might seem like a simple grouping but is also an introduction to future concepts like multiplication and even statistics. As they advance, patterns will play a quiet but constant role in math and students proficient in patterning will have a head start.
Ways to use Patterns:
- Look for pattens in every day life
Create necklaces using colored beads in a specific pattern. Put toys in order of size. Making patterns with different-shaped blocks
Be ready for the new school year with Spark Math
Spark Math’s research-backed curriculum will get children on track to master concepts at their grade level or get ahead of the curve. Students taking our kindergarten course will cover all Common Core Standard key math concepts. These include the basics of counting and up through beginning addition and subtraction. Our talented teachers will cover everything from this blog and much more.
Getting over Summer Slide can be tough for kids as they enter a new year in school. Spark Math is an education program perfect for helping kids use the skills they learned all year in fun and engaging ways. Available for students from Pre-K to 6th grade, Spark Math’s online program features online classes, gamified lessons, and a real experienced teacher. Try it for yourself by signing up to try a free demo class today!
Want to find out what your student should know before enter the new school year? Check out our Spark Math blog for great news and activities the whole family can enjoy. Check out our Pinterest Page for more fun activities!
Check out more Spark blogs on what children should know before starting the new school year below!