Children naturally engage in activities that lend themselves to discovering and learning important mathematics. Learning early mathematics means shaping play and exploration so that children explicitly see the mathematics around them.
As described in NCTM’s 2020 Catalyzing Change in Early Childhood and Elementary Mathematics, “Early childhood settings … should build a strong foundation of deep mathematical understanding, emphasize reasoning and sense making, and ensure the highest-quality mathematics education for each and every child.” This deep mathematical understanding supports children as confident and capable learners, to understand and critique the world through mathematics, and to experience the wonder, joy, and beauty of mathematics.
Developmental expectations for children from birth through entrance to first grade, including those about mathematical thinking, can be found in WMELS which are currently under revision. Alignment to the 2021 Wisconsin Standards for Mathematics (K-12) is forthcoming.
Visit the DPI Early Childhood webpage for more information about early learning, including the WMELS review process.