Children learn best through hands-on experiences that are child-driven and authentic. Incorporating math exploration into free choice play centers allows children to explore and apply skills in real-life situations. It is also a great way to link new concepts to ones that the students already understand. When the teachers join in the play with students, they can nudge the students understanding forward and move them to incorporate more complex ideas.
Play also allows children to work and problem solve together. The importance of increasing social development to promote academics is noted in the statement from Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings: NAEYC Position Statement,
“Beyond cognitive development, teachers need to be familiar with young children’s social, emotional, and motor development, all of which are relevant to mathematical development.”
Incorporating Number Sense