Math Encounters

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Kindergarten is a time to explore the world through touch, sight and sound. At Taos Earth Children, we do not focus on symbols like letters and numbers (not at this age). Mostly, we let the kids explore through their own creativity, because that is what we seek to inspire. But when we do give a lesson, we do it in nature, with trees and leaves, with pine cones and snowflakes. Here, the kids are making 10 piles of 10 leaves. Then we count to a hundred. Most four- and five-year-olds can count verbally to twenty, even one hundred. But most have a hard time "mapping" those numbers to discrete objects and sets. It is like a two-year-old who sings his ABC's. They have taken in the words, the sounds, but the meaning escapes them almost entirely. Try counting with your children - without correcting them. See if they can count footsteps, leaves, or grapes, eggs or crackers. A four- or five-year-old can often say the words, but has a hard time "mapping" those words to one object at a time. So beware of verbal counting and ABC's. The deeper lesson is the mapping of "one, two, three..." to one object, one object, one object. Mastery of this skill from 1-10 far exceeds the "knowledge" of counting to one hundred, one thousand, or even "one-hundred eighty five thousand million google, google, google."