– It’s alarming that with all the focus that was put on getting girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines, we do not see improvement in the gender gap evolution and in the way girls are considered. “There still exists a notion that math and science are not really “girl” subjects,” said Dina Weinberg, a math tutor and former elementary school teacher and mother of two daughters.

Mind the Gap (Wikimedia Commons)

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– Finger perception is the human ability to distinguish, recognize and name fingers. Counting on fingers is closely related to math tasks in the human brain. This is something our brain does automatically, even when we do not do it physically. So, stop feeling bad about using your hands to count. You should even encourage your children to apply such a good method to solve math problems.

Phalanx bones (Wikipedia)

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– “We get a lot of kids coming through. I couldn’t say exactly how many of them we’ve given money to since it started,” said Griffin. In any case, it seems that both parents and children love it: “I typically hand the money to the children, it’s all part of the reinforcement. But it’s not just about reading; they have to tell us or their parents what happened. It’s all about the comprehension,” explained the barber.

At The Fuller Cut Barbershop in Michigan

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– Math language knowledge being a strong predictor of children’s early math success, the researchers wanted to know how effective early exposure to it could be for 3 to 5-year-old children. Preschoolers able to understand the difference between “before” and “after” are more likely capable to tell which number comes after three, for example. It’s indeed difficult for anybody to compare quantities if they don’t know what simple words such as “more” or “fewer” mean.

An armillary sphere in a painting by Sandro Botticelli (Wikipedia)

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– There is no better support than caring parents for a child’s intellectual and social development. To be efficient, education should definitely be a close cooperation between parents, pupils, and teachers. All of them should be held accountable for academic learning and school results. Accountability, beginning at home, is indeed key in matters of education.

Fairy Tales – Boston Public Library (Wikipedia)

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– “The foundation for our critical thinking capability and comfort level with math is shaped during our earliest years, when the brain is growing exponentially,” said Dr. Susan Canizares, Chief Academic Officer at La Petite Academy. “Unfortunately, some of the most widespread fallacies about math skills are also tied to early childhood development. By dispelling these myths and providing positive, developmentally appropriate learning opportunities, we can ensure our children build the fundamental skills and self-assurance they’ll need for future success,” added Canizares.

**So, what are these pernicious myths?**

1. Children are born either good or bad at math.

2. If children don’t get the basics of math early on, they can always catch up.

3. Children can’t solve math problems.

4. Boys are better than girls at math.

5. Preschool math is only rote memorization.

Math learning (Wikimedia)

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– The authors of the ERC study said that parents should play a stronger role in setting rules regarding the behavior and activities of their kids. There are many ways in which families of all backgrounds can efficiently support their children’s academic development and performance. Schools, on their side, may take an important role by informing parents on how they can improve their children’s math and literacy skills.

A child watching TV (Wikimedia Commons)

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– Fuzzy math proponents believe that practice to master skills and rote learning are less important than “deep insight.” They encourage teachers not to teach directly, but rather to help students to discover things, solve problems, and construct their own language in teaching themselves and their peers. Some say that teachers in the past turned students off math by stressing only speed and computation, comparing this with learning to read by only practicing the alphabet. This is to forget that knowing the alphabet is the fundamental step in learning to read.

Mental Arithmetic in the Rachinsky School by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (Wikipedia)

**By the way, where are the girls?**

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– “We’re about 25 years behind in math,” said Deborah Stipek, professor of education at Stanford University and head of DREME Network. The huge advantages of early math education are no longer in doubt. In 2007, a ground-breaking study showed that the math level at kindergarten entry strongly predicts not only later math skills, but also later reading skills. Such results seem to be due to the multiple benefits of learning math on attention, concentration, memory and problem solving abilities.

– “Parents don’t really think about math as something you do at home, they think about it as something you do in school,” said Stipek. In thinking so, however, they miss an incredible opportunity to foster at the most favorable moment the optimal development of their children.

Renaissance Mathematics (Wikimedia)

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– “The gap between boys and girls is of major concern. It is starting at an early age and it is evident all the way through to university,” said McGovern. “Girls tend to mature more quickly and they also tend to dominate more at primary schools. They tend to get more encouragement for their way of learning in environments where the vast majority are female teachers.”

Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series (Wikipedia)

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