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Measurement: Improve

Preschoolers

Reflecting on and improving your skills and knowledge to help children learn about measurement is important work. Here are some ideas you can try with your coach or supervisor to build your teaching practices in this area:

Planning Goals and Action Steps

  • Work with your coach or supervisor to identify the teaching practices you want to build and strengthen. Here are some practices that help preschoolers learn about measurement.1
    • Provide materials that can be used to measure, including standard tools like rulers, tape measures, measuring cups, and balance scales.
    • Facilitate and reinforce measurement concepts in everyday play and routines:
    • Build children’s descriptive and comparison vocabulary (e.g., tall/taller, heavy/heavier, big/bigger)
    • Ask questions that reflect a desire to understand children’s thinking (e.g., “Which container holds more? How can we find out?”)
    • Challenge children to use standard and non-standard measurement tools to solve problems (e.g., use same-size blocks or a tape measure to figure out the length of the slide)
    • Provide opportunities to compare and order objects in a progressive sequence (e.g., smallest to largest).
    • Encourage children to estimate measurement (e.g., “How many cups of water do you think you need to fill the pail?”).
    • Encourage children to record and document what they measured, with adult support as needed.
  • In home-based programs, effective practices may also include broader relationship-building practices such as those described in Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.
  • Create an action plan with timelines to help you use the practices consistently and effectively.

Focused Observation

  • Revisit the teaching practice that you outlined in your planning goals and action steps with your coach/supervisor. Together, plan for and schedule an observation where they can focus on how you implement the practices you’ve identified.
    • For example, if you chose to focus on the practice, Ask questions that reflect a desire to understand children’s thinking (e.g., “Which container holds more? How can we find out?”), you might ask your coach/supervisor to observe free choice time as you station yourself in the block or manipulatives area and ask children questions in response to their exploration and play. Your coach/supervisor can note how effectively you use open-ended questions to explore and expand children’s understanding of measurement concepts.
  • In home-based programs, observations may focus on how the home visitor engages with parents to identify, adapt, and use the identified teaching and relationship-building practices. They may also focus on how you model the practices.

Reflection and Feedback

  • What went well? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? How did their reaction support the relationship with their child? Their child’s understanding of measurement?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • What seemed challenging? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? Their child?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • Did your coach/supervisor offer feedback from the observation that was surprising? What supports do you need from her to refine and strengthen the practice? What else would help you strengthen the practice?
  • What would you do differently if you were to use this practice again?
  • What do you hope the child/children/parents will gain by using this practice? How will you know?

1California Department of Education, California Preschool Curriculum Framework Volume 1 (Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education, 2010), 276–278, Measurement, http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/psframeworkkvol1.pdf [PDF, 8.8MB].

Topic:School Readiness

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: June 5, 2018