Counting is a skill that we develop as infants, research has shown. Babies can identify which of two groups of objects is larger as young as five months old. But if a foundation for math skills isn’t established, students may continue to struggle with math throughout school.
Many preschool programs support counting and early math skills. A study following 517 children from ages 4 to 11 indicated that the math skills learned in preschool contributed to the skills needed in first grade. The same was true of first grade supporting fifth grade math skills. This study also revealed that the development of basic math skills of children from low-income homes is no different from children from more advantaged homes.
One researcher, Greg Duncan, has studied not only the importance of early math education but also the impact that math skills have on students’ overall performance in school.
Indicator of Future Success in School
His research indicates early math skills may be a stronger indicator of future success in school, over early reading and writing skills. However, he emphasizes that we still have a lot to learn about which specific math skills, like identifying shapes or using fractions, are most important early on.
Math is a subject that many students struggle with and are intimidated by. If students can develop math skills early, it may improve their overall performance in school and will better equip them to pursue STEM careers.
Free Math Resources
Genius Plaza offers math games, videos, and lessons for Pre-K through high school students. Our online platform can help students get a head start on their math skills or continue practicing during summer and throughout the school year. Go to Genius Plaza to see our selection of math resources!