Singapore Math Tips: Kindergarten - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Singapore Math Tips: Kindergarten

{photo by Rachel Neumann}

Today we have another great post from our very own Lisa Ann Dillon, with some Singapore Math tips for those just starting out in Kindergarten! Last year we ran a series of blog articles with Singapore tips for Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, and Levels 5 & 6. Feel free to read or re-visit those articles for wonderful information about using this math program at home, at each of those levels. 

Lisa Ann is our Singapore Math Curriculum Coordinator and is continuing this series for us to help enrich our math days at home. Regardless of your child’s math level, we hope the following information will be a good resource for you:

Kindergarten is a delightful time when children learn that school is both fun and meaningful.  Students have new tasks put before them that provide just enough of a challenge for them to realize that they can do more than they could before.  It is a time of discovery when play leads to the uncovering of the lessons many of which will last a life time.  Remember that book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum?  Kindergarten provides the foundation for all of the learning that will follow in subsequent years.

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Singapore Math has a wonderful approach to teaching math to Kindergartners.  The program builds a foundation that is rock solid and developmentally appropriate for these young students.  In Kindergarten, children are developing their spatial skills.  All their practice with shapes and size will create a firm underpinning that will come in handy when they advance to geometry.  As they spend a lot of time getting to know what each number amount looks like in different configurations, they are building a pre-understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  These important lessons should not be rushed but instead, these concepts should be allowed to steep so that the learning is like a strong brew; you can’t undo it!  

A homemade 10-frame from an egg carton

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For some reason, when it comes to math in Kindergarten, we sometimes forget that the year should be foundational, relaxed, and stress free.  At SLOCA, we want to be sure we don’t rush our youngest students into concepts they will have a lifetime to work on.  Because the concepts seem so simple, families sometimes misunderstand the extra practice and feel that the program isn’t geared to the true skills of their budding mathematicians.  However, if we heed the words of Leigh A. Bortins in her book The Core, “I will fail my child if I move him ahead in a math book when the fundamentals aren’t over-learned,” (italics mine) then we will allow children a lot of time to practice ideas.   Did you note the term “over-learned?”  Throughout the section on math, Bortins emphasizes the idea that in order for children to ultimately learn algebra, the basics of math must be practiced repeatedly even once a child has learned a concept

          

Useful manipulatives for Kindergarten: linking cubes and counters

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At SLOCA, we are committed to teaching our Kindergartners math in a way that will firmly cement the basic fundamentals.  Then as students progress through each level, the learning will make sense and hold firm.  At home, you can support this by following the suggestions at the bottom of your child’s math page and taking time to gather materials to bring the learning to life.  In addition, we want to develop habits of mind in Classical Education.  So let’s begin by teaching our youngest children that we practice, practice, practice.  It will help build their ability to do so in other areas as well as begin to teach a bit of self control and focus.  

Here are a few ideas for extending those math lessons and increasing the fun.

  • Count, Count, Count!  Count shoes in the closet, cans in the cupboard, birds you see during the day, cars that pass by the house, silverware as you put it away – you get the picture.

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  • Compare groups of items and ask “How many more?”  “How many less?”
  • Connect math to literature – “How many cows are on this page?  How many chickens are on this page?  How many animals altogether?”  or “Wow.  Let's see how many different shapes we can find on this page.”
  • Connect math to art and crafts – Build fine motor skills through painting, cutting, gluing, etc. while creating a piece of art that tells a math story.
  • Get creative with manipulatives – use silverware, stuffed animals, toy cars, , rocks, sticks, beans – to complete math assignments.  

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  • Use pinterest as a resource.  It is filled with wonderful ideas.
  • Have fun with it!  Practice number writing in sand or shaving cream (within handwriting lines of course), build shapes out of rocks, paint addition problems, use hula hoops to help form number bonds, etc.

We hope you can jump in and have fun with your lessons, right from the start.  We are here to help answer any questions you may have, to provide guidance for your home days, and to help you understand the big picture of our math curriculum.  Please let us know how things are going at home!  Remember, practice, have fun, be kind, and take turns.  Aren’t these the first lessons in Kindergarten?! 

Thank you Lisa Ann!

Tomorrow you'll find the next installment of our Friday Faces series, featuring our library, playground, and bookstore staff. Anyone want to guess who was an engineer before her SLOCA life? Leave your best guess in the comments, and check back tomorrow to find out…

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