You’ve never actually met anyone as sweet and warm as Annie. She was a young newly-married graduate student when I met her and she is now a mother of 2, an early childhood professional and still the sweetest lady you could ever imagine. You can read in her answers how thoughtful she is about early learning experiences.
1. Please describe how you are involved in the field of education.
I have a MS in child development and taught ECE/CD courses at three different community colleges from ’07-’12. For the past two years I have worked at the Erikson Institute teaching one course and facilitating student academic support for MSCD/MSECE masters degree candidates.
2. How many children do you have and how old are they?
Two boys: 5 years and 10 weeks.
3. Describe your children’s early childhood experiences. Did they stay at home with a family member? Did they attend preschool or childcare? Did they attend a home-based childcare program, or a combination of the above? (If your children have not yet entered a childcare setting, please answer these questions for the future, i.e., What do you hope your children’s math experiences will be? What are your plans for introducing math to your children at home?)
I can only speak for my older son, but he was home with me somewhat exclusively. I have worked part time since he was born, but the most he has ever been with a sitter is about 8 hours/week. He attended a private preschool/pre-K for two years. He went 3 half days when he was 3 and 5 half days when he was 4. He will attend full-day kindergarten at a public Naperville 204 school beginning next month.
4. Describe your children’s exposure to math in their prekindergarten years both at home and at school.
Carter’s early math exposure both at home and school consisted of a combination of regularly working with math manipulatives through play, as well as more structured activities such as planned time to work on counting, use of flashcards, math games and worksheets/workbooks.
5. Knowing what you now know about raising and educating children, what worked well in your children’s early math experiences?
I think that a lot of early math experiences can be acquired through play (like many experiences), and that a lot of early math instruction can be organic, i.e. we’re in the car so let’s count together, but I do see the benefit in some structured exercises as well. We play a lot of board games and card games that promote mathematical reasoning.
6. What didn’t work well?
I think forcing something that isn’t enjoyable, i.e. rote memorization of flash cards, is something that generally doesn’t work well as it sets up a negative early experience for a kind of learning that is vital.
7. What would you have done differently at home?
I think I would have generally made more of a consistent effort to weave math into our daily routine. There are many opportunities to do so, and those are sometimes lost opportunities in the busy shuffle of day to day.
8. What would you have like to have seen done differently in their prekindergarten settings?
I think that any time a teacher can communicate to parents how math is being used in the classroom and how a parent can implement those same activities/skills/experiences at home, that is the optimal way to promote early math learning.