Early Childhood Education Researchers To Lead Conference On Integration Of Math With Play

Educators Have Been Examining How Math Is Taught In Pre-K


Early childhood educators from around Wisconsin will gather Saturday for a conference on how mathematics can be integrated into children’s play.

For the last five years, Anita Wager and Beth Graue have used funding from the National Science Foundation to examine teaching math in pre-kindergarten. Wager, an assistant math professor, said math at that age isn’t about worksheets. Rather, it’s more about recognizing math in everyday life — for example, by “counting how many steps you walk up” or by “setting the table and thinking about the patterns.”

Graue, a professor of childhood studies, said reading has gotten a lot of emphasis recently in early childhood education. Math, on the other hand, has not.

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“Math scares a lot of people and so they think, ‘Why would I inflict this on a child?’” said Graue.

Graue said their work has helped teachers find they are mathematicians, whether they know it or not.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Beth Graue’s name. It has been updated.

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