Parents, take note!
Engaging in mathematical activities at home will not only improve preschool children's math skills but also strengthen their vocabulary, a recent study has suggested.
Amy Napoli, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies of Purdue University, who led the study said, "Exposure to basic numbers and math concepts at home were predictive, even more so than storybook reading or other literacy-rich interactions, of improving preschool children's general vocabulary".
The study evaluated 116 preschool children, ages 3-5 and the researchers assessed the children's math and language skills in the fall and spring of the preschool year. It was examined what their parents reported about math and literacy activities at home predicted children's improvement over time.
"And one of the reasons we think this could be, is the dialogue that happens when parents are teaching their children about math and asking questions about values and comparisons, which helps these young children improve their oral language skills", Napoli added.
There are a number of ways parents can encourage math learning at home, such as talking about counting, connecting numbers to quantities and comparing values. It also helps to focus on counting as purposeful, such as 'there are three cookies for a snack' rather than 'there are cookies for a snack'.
"When working with families, there is a math-related anxiety aspect and that is probably why more parents focus on literacy than on math. But, if you can count, then you can teach something to your child", Napoli further stated.
The study was conducted at Purdue University and the findings were published online in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology....