We have known math since we were babies

Helping babies learn math

Christina Sng for Maths@Singapore

Research tells us that we have known math since we were babies and it makes perfect sense. 

We learned to count the number of bricks we were piling, the pieces of corn on our plate, even the number of cries we had to make before Mom sped to us to soothe us.

I remember my son’s cry would escalate, like a modern day alarm that began softly, for a gentler wake up call, before crescendoing into a symphony.

We use math all the time in our daily lives, in the things we say, and the actions we make.

For example, when we separate items by color, we’re using the math concepts of sorting and classifying. When we give directions to get from one place to another, we are utilizing spatial relationships. We frequently use comparison words to measure what we see around us, such as large and small.

Babies demonstrate to us that they know the difference between familiar and unfamiliar adults, using sorting and classifying.

Here are 5 basic math concepts we can incorporate into our interactions with babies:

1.  Number and operations—understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting.

2.  Shapes and spatial relationships—recognizing and naming shapes, understanding the connection between ourselves and other objects, and the relationships between objects.

3.  Measurement—size, weight, quantity, volume, and time.

4.  Patterns, relationships, and change—recognizing and/or creating repetitions of objects, events, colors, lines, textures, and sounds; understanding things change over time and change can be described with math words. These are the basic building blocks of algebra.

5.  Collecting and organizing information—gathering, sorting, classifying, and analyzing information to help make sense of what is happening around us.

What other basic math concepts can be woven into our everyday interactions with our babies? Read on: https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/math-talk-infants-and-toddlers

Thanks to Dan Cristian Pădureț @dancristianpaduret for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Find our more about our high quality online math classes based on the world-class Singapore math program from the Singapore Ministry of Education and taught by our expert Singaporean teachers