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September 2013, Written by Geula Zamist
Twenty one teachers from eight schools in two states gathered for seven hours on one day in July to study a program for teaching the foundation of mathematics and number sense for children.  CAI ECC was honored to host the full day workshop this summer for early childhood educators to learn and explore the methods of Stern Math – Structural Arithmetic. The program drew teachers from around the tri-state area who came to study together and share best practices for our children.

This year, as we look to grow and deepen our curriculum in our afternoon enrichment classes, we will set aside one day a week for our threes and fours to learn and explore concepts of numeracy. Stern Math is one of the programs that will be used to help children develop a strong sense of mathematical principles. 

Throughout the day of the workshop, teachers had the chance to use the wooden blocks and boxes that convey mathematical relationships.They also got to observe the instructor working with children using the materials and activities. Everyone in attendance found that to be a highlight of the day. 

During our lunch break, Susan Werk shared words of Torah and words of encouragement.  She spoke about the importance of numbers in our learning and in our religious observance.  It was surely no coincidence that the workshop took place during the time of year that we read the book of NUMBERS from the Torah.  Much of mathematical learning is about seeing and appreciating patterns around us in our life.  So too, our connection to our Judaism is filled with patterns and cycles.

As early childhood educators we have the opportunity to impart lessons and concepts to young children that will stay with them for life. A solid understanding of numbers as well as a comfortable and confident disposition to mathematics is a gift we can give each of our students. 

Working together with the teachers and our ECC board we are striving to create a complete program that is based on our values and on our mission.  The math program and the day of learning were emblematic of some of those values.  We value each child as a capable and competent learner. Using Stern Math allows the teacher to work with each child where they are and to build their individual competencies.  We also value the strength of the community. Joining together with educators from other schools gave us the chance to feel the sense of community in our learning.  At the breaks, teachers had the chance to share their strengths and their challenges and learn from each other.  Bringing the children into the learning reminded us that we look to our very young three and four year old students as significant members of our greater community.

In the evaluations that the participants filled out at the end of the day, one teacher commented that she “enjoyed having the children come in to show how the activities are implemented.” Another teacher wrote that she “enjoyed hearing everyone’s observations.”

Indeed, if we look to our children and follow their lead, and if we listen closely and hear what others around us are saying, we will all be blessed with a year of learning and spiritual growth.

May 29,2020 /  6 Sivan 5780