6 chapter 1
children forward in their thinking. The following are examples of leading
questions that encourage children to think harder or change the direction
of their thinking:
• How can we tell which row has more?
• Is there another way to find out if you both have the same amount?
• If two more friends come to our party, will we have enough cups?
• How many ice balls do you think will fit into this cup?
Should mathematics be considered a specific curriculum
in preschool and kindergarten?
Absolutely. Although mathematics can and should be integrated through-
out the classroom, designating it as a specific course of study encourages
teachers to focus on mathematics curriculum, learning, and outcomes.
Current expectations for preschool and kindergarten teachers include
alignment of curriculum to mathematics content and process standards
as well as documentation of learning. Focusing on the content areas of
mathematics and incorporating teaching strategies that intentionally
encourage children to think and communicate mathematically require
that mathematics be designated as a specific curriculum starting in pre-
school and kindergarten.
Why is it important to integrate mathematics throughout
Each area of the classroom presents unique opportunities for children to
encounter real math problems to solve through their play. From dividing
eggs equitably in the dramatic play area to finding enough triangular-
shaped blocks for the entire perimeter of the roof of a block structure,
children must deal with real math problems throughout their day. Teach-
ers can increase the possibilities for children to engage in mathematical
thinking by embedding opportunities for mathematical reasoning in their
plans for each area of the classroom.
There is another important reason for integrating mathematics through-
out the classroom. Some children avoid even the most inviting mathemat-
ics materials because they feel insecure in the mathematics area or fear
failure. By introducing the same concepts in areas of the classroom in
which particular children feel most comfortable, teachers allow children
to think about mathematical possibilities within a secure, supportive envi-
ronment. A child who may not want to join a group at the mathematics