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Bust These Math Myths Early to Ensure Future Student Success

Bust These Math Myths Early to Ensure Future Student Success

According to La Petite Academy, an early childhood education leader with over 450 schools throughout the states, ensuring lifelong success in math starts by dispelling common myths that early learners hear as they begin the process of learning.

Math anxiety, the academy says, stems back to negative learning experiences young learners are prone to have early on as they begin to learn math.

"Besides leading to missed career opportunities and ongoing frustration in everyday tasks, studies show that math angst can even be transferred to others. For parents, that’s something to keep in mind as children begin their lifelong relationship with math,” La Petite Academy says.

The academy outlines 5 myths that it says frequently affect how kids learn math.

For one, the academy says that students are too often taught that “you’re born good or bad at math.”

Students should never feel that they are born with or without a math gene. Believing early on that he or she is not capable of being good at math can result in a stall in development that could have been avoided with proper support.

On that note, Dr. Susan Canizares, Chief Academic Officer of La Petite Academy, argues that another common math myth is that students who don’t get the basics of math early on can just catch up.

Canizares stresses that early math development should be treated as time-sensitive as early literacy development.

"Studies show that children who haven’t grasped the fundamentals by the early elementary years are likely to continue to struggle throughout middle and high school. By this point, ability and confidence have become negatively intertwined. Early math development is as important as early literacy development. We must do everything possible to prevent an achievement gap for all children.”

Canizares also warns against perpetuating the myth that boys are inherently better than girls at math—arguing that this causes a lack of confidence in women and ultimately contributes to the gender gap in the first place. 

Finally, she urges teachers and parents to stop thinking that preschool math is merely memorization.

". . . [E]arly mathematical knowledge for preschoolers is highly conceptual and includes foundational skills such as understanding sizes and patterns, spatial relationships, sequencing, classifying, and measuring. It’s critical that teachers help children to see and live their world mathematically—meaning that they guide them in active explorations, use descriptive language about attributes and changes they see in things, and provide plenty of opportunity for children to express their ideas, make predictions and think critically.”

Read the full statement here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

10/4/2016

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