Well-prepared beginning teachers of mathematics at the early childhood level collaborate with families in a mutually respectful, reciprocal manner to enhance and connect children’s in-school and out-of-school mathematical development. [Elaboration of C.2.5]
Early childhood teachers positively influence the relationships between families and schools and the attitudes of their children toward school. They exert this influence by connecting and communicating with families in culturally sensitive ways. They develop home-school communication that allows two-way sharing of information, concerns, and feelings. They get to know families, develop trusting relationships, and collaborate on behalf of their children. They use multiple methods to communicate the mathematics their children are learning and invite families to share the ways they were taught mathematics when they were children. By inviting parents to share their ways of doing mathematics, teachers learn to communicate how their learning is similar to and different from the ways their children are learning mathematics in school. By connecting with parents, well-prepared beginners engage in the mutual sharing of resources and ideas to support the mathematical development of young learners.
Well-prepared beginners demonstrate interest in learning how their children and their families use mathematics at home and in their communities. For example, teachers can ask families to teach them the first 10 number names in their home language (e.g., uno, dos, tres, ...) and use the names when the class counts small quantities. They can also invite families to collect home artifacts for the classroom to explore mathematical concepts For example, empty boxes of commonly used household products can be used when discussing geometric shapes. These activities incorporate the child’s culture in the classroom and provide cultural and learning experiences for each and every student. Collaboration with families can be enhanced when parents/caregivers and children engage in mathematics tasks together (Mistretta, 2013). Family Mathematics Nights or a Family Math Saturday can provide opportunities for children to share what they are learning in mathematics and for families to engage in problem-solving activities with their children. For these activities, beginners invite parents to share their strategies for solving problems while they become more aware of their child’s mathematical thinking and learning. Well-prepared beginners forge partnerships with families and support them with knowing how to create and sustain learning opportunities at home. They may also support joint and separate sessions for parents and children at the school, including bridging activities for parents to develop their child’s numeracy at home (Doig, McCrae, & Rowe, 2003).