Was this page helpful?
I found this page helpful because (select all that apply):
I did not find this page helpful because (select all that apply):

Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Improve

Preschoolers

Reflecting on and improving your skills and knowledge to help children learn about simple addition, subtraction, and patterns 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 simple addition, subtraction, and patterns.1,2
    • Engage preschool children in conversations about patterns; for example:
      • Say patterns aloud as a group to build the rhythm of repetition
      • Ask questions like “What would come next?” and “What happens over and over again?”
      • Help children describe patterns and use descriptive words
    • Point out patterns in the environment.
    • Use everyday interactions and routines to illustrate and discuss addition and subtraction transformations (e.g., You have three stickers. If I give you two more, how many stickers would you have altogether?).
    • Promote the use of comparison terms (e.g., more, same as, fewer, less) through everyday interactions.
    • Use daily routines, such as checking attendance during morning circle time, to introduce and practice mathematical concepts and skills, illustrating part-whole relationships by counting, doing arithmetic, and comparing quantities.
  • 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, Promote the use of comparison terms (e.g., more, same as, fewer, less) through everyday interactions, you might invite your coach/supervisor to observe a period of free play or choice. Ask her to listen for the number of times you use comparison terms in your conversations with children.
  • 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 simple addition, subtraction, and patterns?
  • 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), 253–254, Understanding Number Relationships and Operations, http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/psframeworkkvol1.pdf [PDF, 8.8MB].

2California Department of Education, California Preschool Curriculum Framework Volume 1 (Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education, 2010), 266–267, Algebra and Functions, Patterning, 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