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Curriculum > Preschool > What We Teach > Mathematics


As young children explore their environment, they are beginning to notice relationships that are the foundations for mathematics. They can sort and match things that are the same or different; they can also arrange things in simple patterns, based on their characteristics; they are beginning to understand the meaning of words and phrases like "more," "less," "a lot," and "the same as."

They are starting to use measurement to describe, compare, and order things, using both unconventional tools (like pieces of string, sticks, and their footsteps) or conventional tools (like rulers and measuring cups).

They are also starting to recognize and describe the positions of people and objects and how they move through space in relation to other people and objects. They use their developing spatial awareness as they put together puzzles and build with blocks.

KDIs in Mathematics

  1. Number words and symbols: Children recognize and use number words and symbols.
  2. Counting: Children count things.
  3. Part-whole relationships: Children combine and separate quantities of objects.
  4. Shapes: Children identify, name, and describe shapes.
  5. Spatial awareness: Children recognize spatial relationships among people and objects.
  6. Measuring: Children measure to describe, compare, and order things.
  7. Unit: Children understand and use the concept of unit.
  8. Patterns: Children identify, describe, copy, complete, and create patterns.
  9. Data analysis: Children use information about quantity to draw conclusions, make decisions, and solve problems. 

In HighScope classrooms, children acquire math skills and concepts through adult-guided experiences that respect children's concrete thinking and need to learn through exploration. Learning activities planned around HighScope's key developmental indicators (KDIs) in mathematics build on children's natural interests and offer children the time and freedom to construct and reflect on math and science ideas.

HighScope offers publications and training options covering early math. Under a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, HighScope has developed the Numbers Plus® Preschool Mathematics Curriculum in consultation with noted early mathematics researchers and program developers. HighScope's offerings include customized training for Numbers Plus.

Numbers Plus, like other HighScope math materials, is aligned with the early childhood standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Teachers use Numbers Plus to conduct small-group activities and other math-related experiences throughout the daily routine. See the links on this page for more information about HighScope's curriculum resources and training in math and science.

For more information and articles on math and preschool, visit our News and Information section and choose ReSource.

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