Analysis of the activities of preschool education parents do not have to be convinced that early literacy is important. Reading, singing, and talking to children before they can read themselves helps pave the way for curiosity, empathy and, hopefully, a lifelong love of reading. Deborah Stipek, a professor at Stanford and the former dean of the school of education, says math is just as important—if not more—to laying the foundations for educational success. But we are not nearly as focused on planting the seeds for a future love of math as we are for reading.
Research from 2007 found that math skills for kids entering kindergarten were a strong predictor of both math and reading skills in the third and fifth grades. It’s not intuitive that math lays a foundation for learning. Plenty of research, including from the National Research Council underscores the importance of early mathematical thinking for developing cognitive abilities later in life. For their part, parents know how to read to children, and have ample books to help. It’s not the same for math.