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🏰 Early Years

Parenting advice is only useful before it can be applied, afterwards is already too late. So this page will contain important things parents should know to help maximise their child’s long-term mathematical (cognitive) development. The brief version is:

  • The most important prerequisite for long-term progress is for mathematics to feel happy, safe, and fun. Speak positively about it (never imply it’s normal to be bad at mathematics unless you want that prophecy to come true), encourage and praise persistence, and make as many things as possible into (mathsy) games.

  • Big gains can already come in ages 0–4 (i.e. even before school beings), lay the mental foundations for later skills by: practising counting & putting things in order (much like learning music), playing sports and running around to develop spatial sense, broadening vocabulary (measuring, comparing, sorting, sequences), and verbalising your thinking strategies (e.g. I’ve put all the flat pieces to the edge, so now I’m looking for a puzzle piece with a sharp corner to fit with what I have).

  • In the motivation game, it’s much better to have a strong start vs. delaying and risking discouragement from needing to play catchup. So early regular help with the core basics (counting, place-value, \(+ - \times \div\), and fractions ) will put your child at the front and make them feel confident and capable. Having experienced early success, they’ll be more likely to want to keep gaining satisfaction by developing mastery.

  • Counting on fingers, thinking intuitively about numbers, modelling with blocks, and drawing diagrams are good, and oftentimes better for long-term learning than merely memorising written ways of calculating. That can come later, and only after they have number fluency.

  • However, memorising basic facts (additions/subtractions, multiplications, fraction decimal percentage equivalency) is essential for fluency. Make reviewing these a game/challenge, explore patterns, go forwards and backwards, kids (and people) love a cheeky challenge, provided it feels within-reach.

πŸ’¬ Vocabulary

🎳 Games

  • Board games. Hex & Pent