5 key early math skills needed in first grade for later success

Researchers at the University of Missouri have identified the foundational first grade math skills that improve children’s later math learning. The paper, “Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: A Five Year Longitudinal Study,” was published in the journal Developmental Psychology.

The long-term study indicates that beginning first-graders will achieve better success in learning math through the end of fifth grade if they:

  • Understand numbers
  • The quantities those numbers represent
  • Low-level arithmetic
  • Comprehend the number line
  • Know how to place numbers on the line

As with literacy, this study reinforces the knowledge that math learning is incremental. To achieve greater understanding and abilities, children build on what they learned previously. David Geary, Curator’s Professor of Psychological Sciences, led the research team in monitoring 177 elementary students from 12 different elementary schools since kindergarten.

Although the study did not provide specific recommendations on how to teach these foundational math skills, learning through music is a natural (and fun!) way for young children to learn mathematics. In fact, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) advocates for math learning in contexts that promotes other types of thinking and problem solving at the same time. ABC Music & Me incorporates NCTM Focal Points for PreK into the lessons to ensure children achieve a foundational understanding of early mathematics.

For more information about how ABC Music & Me uses music to teach early math skills (and literacy), email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.



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