Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting: Math patterns are skills for success

For Nicolas Ramos, Legos mean hours of entertainment from building a city to building a train. 

But for Mom, Maria, it's a teaching moment disguised as play.

Bethany Rittle-Johnson is an educational psychologist at Vanderbilt University. She and her colleagues followed 517 low-income children from ages four to 11.

When the children were in preschool and at the end of first grade, researchers tested them on general knowledge and six math skills, including counting, comparing quantities and patterning. 

They wanted to know if among other things those three math skills at age four and five would predict math achievement at age 11. The study suggests they do.

"The way I think this is done well is when it's just kind of incorporated into the fun things you're dong," Rittle-Johnson said. 

Card games, crafts and building blocks provide parents opportunities to talk about quantities and patterns.


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