Title:  Practice Guide: Teaching Math to Young Children
Description: Before they even enter a classroom, many children show an interest in math. They notice basic shapes, examine patterns, and practice counting. Teachers can build on this curiosity and get children excited about math with five recommendations from the new What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide, Teaching Math to Young Children.

To succeed in school, children need to develop skills in five critical early math areas: number and operations, geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis. These are complex concepts for young minds. With techniques found in the guide, teachers can make math a daily experience that children enjoy and can succeed in.

Recommendations include the following:

  • Help your students take the next developmental step in learning math by building on what they already know. Every classroom has children at different levels of progression, so utilize small-group activities to target different skill levels.
  • To get the most out of your math instruction, continually monitor children’s progress so you can tailor your future lessons to their needs. Gather specific information about each child’s skill level, such as how they perform on new tasks, and watch how they complete each activity.
  • Make math a part of the school day and create a math-rich environment. Use math concepts such as numbers and shapes to label things like classroom rules or lunch tables. This will help children see how math plays a part in everyday activities.
The research base for this guide was identified through a comprehensive search for studies evaluating instructional practices for teaching math to children in preschool, prekindergarten, or kindergarten programs.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: November 2013
Web Release: November 19, 2013
Publication #: WWC PG01813
Center/Program: WWC
Associated Centers: NCEE
Authors: WWC
Type of Product: Practice Guide
Questions: For questions about the content of this Practice Guide, please contact:
Diana McCallum.