ORLANDO, Fla. (WILX) – Is the pandemic having an impact on kids’ academic skills? A handful of new studies suggest students are losing more ground in math right now, rather than reading. Researchers say it may be more difficult to teach some math concepts in virtual classrooms. But what can parents do at home? There are some activities that can help families reinforce early math skills.
For three-year old Ben, if you can snap it together or stack it, it’s fun. His mom knows it’s skill-building.
“Definitely important in terms of organization, thinking ahead, planning things,” said Ben’s mom, Anna Harding.
It’s also laying the foundation for math. Claudia Galindo studied 47 immigrant Latino moms whose children were enrolled in preschool. The education sociologist found the vast majority placed great value in math education and were already using cultural strengths to help their children with math.
“Sometimes some of them felt it was difficult. They didn’t like it. In spite of this, they still saw math as something super important,” said Claudia Galindo, PhD, Education Policy Expert at University of Maryland.
Through workshops Galindo helped these mothers capitalize on their strengths to teach math using daily activities at home. For example, when cooking, ask the child to count out and bring five ingredients from the refrigerator.
“When you are setting the table, or you have a guest, how many people are coming for dinner today. What is it that you will need?” said Galindo.
Researchers also found that moms in the study encouraged kids to watch educational media.
“We really want to explore more about watching tv as a way to teach your kids math, Dora, Sesame Street,” said Galindo.
Researchers also suggested that parents allow kids to watch when they are themselves engaged in math-based activities in the home. That could be anything from matching the shape of Tupperware containers to lids, counting money or coins, or something as simple as counting out loud going up and down flights of steps.
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