“In the U.S. it is common to say ‘I can’t even balance my checkbook’ and that’s considered acceptable,” says Jennifer McCray, director of the Erikson Early Math Collaborative, on the June 6 edition of The Education Town Hall. “But most people wouldn’t proudly announce, ‘I can’t read!'” And that culture is one of challenges the Collaborative addresses.
Another challenge, says Rebeca Itzkowich, senior Erikson instructor, “very early on [in our classrooms], students begin to see mathematics as something that some people are good at and some people are not.”
Embracing Mathematics for Early Childhood Education
Many early childhood teachers admit they don’t really like math or even fear and avoid it, with sad consequences for young students. The Erikson Early Math Collaborative and its new publication, Big Ideas of Early Mathematics (Pearson Education), aim to change that. The Collaborative helps early childhood teachers “embrace math” and “learn to be comfortable enough with math to include it in everyday classroom activities.” Director Jennifer McCray and Senior Instructor Rebeca Itzkowich discuss their new book and how their approach can help children incorporate mathematics into their world views.
The Erikson Early Math Collaborative was awarded a 5-year Investing in Innovations (i3) grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to develop their “big ideas.” They engage in research, offer a variety of resources — many of which are on-line and free of charge — and provide professional development.
Liz Davis, teacher at DC’s Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School, and Matthew Frumin, education advocate, join the discussion. Listen to the full discussion and visit the Erikson website for details and resources.
The Education Town Hall is broadcast Thursdays at 11 a.m. (Eastern) on We Act Radio (WPWC 1480 AM in DC, http://www.WeActRadio.com). Full recordings are archived for later discussion and sharing.