• assessment: an accounting of what learners know using objective evidence. Informal assessment is ongoing as adults monitor young children’s learning each day
  • math concepts: early ideas about numbers, counting, shapes, measurement, time, greater than, less than, money
  • math language: commonly used math vocabulary, such as more, less, how many in all, fewer, add, take away, number, triangle, square, and circle
  • open-ended questions: questions that require critical thinking, invite opinion or explanation, and result in more than a one-word answer


Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.

Young children show an early use of math when they count their fingers and toes, show and tell how old they are, compare who has more or less juice, or figure out who is taller and tallest. Early math experiences like these are the foundation for understanding more complex mathematical ideas and concepts, and are integral in helping children understand, explain, and describe their world. You can help strengthen this beginning foundation by integrating math into daily activities, regularly using the language of math, and observing and assessing children’s understanding of math concepts and skills.  

In this 45-minute, self-paced tutorial, you will explore best practices in engaging children in math. Three short videos will show seasoned educators using best practices in action. After watching each video, you’ll review and reflect on what you’ve seen and heard.

During this tutorial, you will:

  • Summarize the best practices for engaging young children in mathematics.
  • Recognize how to integrate math learning opportunities into daily activities.
  • Describe strategies for using math language throughout the curriculum.
  • Assess children’s mathematical understanding.
  • Apply new knowledge to current practices.

First, do a self-assessment to discover what your strengths are and to identify specific skills you'd like to work on.

  1. Download and print the Self-Assessment (PDF).
  2. Complete the first half now, before you begin the training.
  3. Save the sheet with your answers. At the end of the training, you'll complete the second half, compare your "before" and "after" responses, and find out how far you've progressed.

Watch an overview of Engaging Children in Math featuring Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Associate Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Download and print the Learning Log (PDF). Use it during the tutorial to answer questions, reflect upon the materials presented, and jot down ideas and insights about how to apply what you have learned to your own learning environment.

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