Apparently the Erikson Institute's new program "The Early Mathematics Education Project," recently instituted at 300 Chicago public schools, incorporates real objects and events to teach young children the fundamentals of mathematics. This was reported today in the Wall Street Journal in an article titled "New Calculation: Math in Preschool."
According to the article, "Evidence is mounting about the importance of teaching math in preschool and kindergarten."
I'm glad they've just discovered this! But it's not a new calculation: Montessori schools have been teaching fundamental mathematical concepts in preschool (Children's House to us) for over 100 years, because Maria Montessori discovered the importance of doing so that long ago.
Trinomial Cube. Here's the equation it represents:
And the Golden Bead materials teach the basics of addition and subtraction so that even 4 year olds can do equations to the millions.
The Montessori Method has dozens of carefully designed and tested mathematical materials to work with.
One of the first graduates from my school, Council Oak Montessori, is now a parent of a three year old there. He came to a parent meeting and described how the mathematics materials helped him in all his later school career (and even to today), by teaching him how to concretize and visualize mathematical operations. And he didn't start at our school until 2nd grade.
Ah well, it's great that the students at CPS are getting SOME mathematical concretization.