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If your child is to master the more difficult mathematical topics such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, it’s vital that they develop a solid understanding of numbers. Mathematics are abstract, so they are difficult for many children to master fully. It’s been said that boys do better with math because they are abstract thinkers and problem solvers by nature. I disagree with this. I have seen that with early teaching in abstract thinking, girls do as well or better than
their male peers.
What can you to help your child develop a sound mathematical foundation? First of all start early. When teaching your child to count, don’t just teach your child to recite numbers in sequence. Show, with manipulative that “one” means something. “This is one block, these are two blocks.” Help you child to understand that you have to have one of something.
Encourage lots of block play. Challenge your child to rearrange a set number of blocks in as many different ways as possible. Also play problem solving games with your child. Give her 15 cookies and ask her to spit them evenly with you. Let her figure it out on her own.
When your child begins learning to add and subtract, provide manipulatives. Remember that an understanding of the concept is more important than fact recall. Allow your child to experiment with grouping. Help your child to see the relationship. If you have 10 beans and you split them up into groups you still have 10. If you take 5 away you have 5, and when you put 5 back, you have 10 again. This is a simple concept, but to a three or four year old it is fundamental.
A solid understanding of the relationship between numbers will go a long way in giving your child a solid mathematical foundation. Solid problem solving and abstract thinking skills, now, will serve your child well in higher math later.