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The Language of Math

by Early Math Counts

Welcome to Early Math Counts’s 2nd Year!  I feel like eating cake.

This month Early Math Counts is going to explore Math as a language unto itself.  On Tuesdays I am going to finish unpacking the Common Core (Sorry, but it’s got to happen!). On Wednesdays, I am going to introduce some websites that explore math vocabulary both for you (the grown-ups) as well as for young children.  On Thursdays, look for interesting ideas for activities that enhance Math as a language.  We will continue to look at ways to support families as they support their children.

All around the world, people speak Math.  As with all other languages, the rules of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, usage, and diction are specific and should be used exactly. And as with all other languages, this ability develops when children are exposed to it early and often.  Think of children who are lucky enough to be born into families with more than one home language.  The languages spoken fluently and regularly to these children become deeply ingrained in the their brain’s language centers.  As a regular part of development, these children become bilingual naturally.

Imagine if we all spoke Math to children early and often.  How would that change children’s future math competencies?  Exposure to the language of Math will change as children grow.  The earliest years can be filled with songs, stories, finger plays, books, and dramatic play with mathematical concepts at the center of these activities.  Each day, we make choices about what songs to sing, what books to read, and what activities to set up in the dramatic play area.  Regularly choosing mathematically themed options will support children’s emerging Math language.

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