Complete instructional resources needed to teach Early Learning in Math and Science are available to instructors interested in using them in their entirety or in part to enhance other teacher education materials. The curriculum was piloted at colleges where a 17-week semester was in place and provides instructional materials for 17 class sessions (based on 2.5 hours of instructional time per class session). Depending on the semester or quarter calendar that your campus uses, you may condense or expand the number of sessions to work for you.
General Course Docs
Samples of a course syllabus, course calendar, homework assignments, master materials list, Course Reader, session sign-in sheet, and optional session feedback form. These are all fully editable to customize with accurate and specific information for your course.
17 instructor guides are provided to support you as much as possible. Session 17 Instructor Guide is intentionally left more open-ended, providing suggestions you may use for wrapping up the course. (The course is based on a 17-week semester. Instructors can wrap up the course as they choose in the final class session.) Some instructors will follow the outlines very closely, while others will use them more as a framework. More information is included, rather than less, so that you can blend it with your own ideas, experience, and style. The first time using these materials, you may need to keep the instructor guides close at hand and refer to them frequently throughout the class. Giving yourself plenty of time to review the instructor guides ahead of time will let you be more thoughtful about any adaptation you wish to make. The following sections are consistent throughout the instructor guides:
- Student learning goals
- Session at a Glance with estimated times, flexible as you deem necessary
- Student Arrival Activity to productively use arrival time
- Early Childhood Discussion Topic
- Math Focus
- Science Focus
- Looking Ahead to Next Session (Homework and What to Bring to Class)
- Materials list
- Literature Connections
PowerPoint presentations support each class session. The PowerPoint slides guide each step of the session, closely linked to each section of the instructor guides. In fact, snapshots of each slide are present in the right margin to coincide with the relevant session content. The PowerPoints are fully editable to allow you to adapt for your particular situation. For example, in a few cases, slides are included that address the California Preschool Learning Foundations. Instructors in other states will want to substitute their own state standards or guidelines. If you teach the class in a shorter timeframe, you can reorganize the content as needed. The PowerPoints have very useful photographs of children engaged in many of the specific science and math activities introduced in class. Other features of the PowerPoints include links to video vignettes from the Big Ideas of Early Mathematics website, and other relevant on-line video clips. Links to websites are embedded to easily access video clips, but urls are provided on slides in case a link doesn’t work.
Exemplar Science Activities
The weekly hands-on science activities done in class are largely based on a set of 11 science exemplar activity guides that were developed especially for this course. Each guide is designed to be an introduction to a science topic for young children. Exemplars are built around the Engage-Explore-Reflect learning cycle, which demonstrates the scientific inquiry process at a foundational level. The exemplars have a dual purpose:
- They are incorporated into the in-class coursework to give students concrete experiences with each exemplar activity. Content from the exemplar activities is provided in the instructor guides to provide a seamless integration as the instructor models the exemplar activity. With each exemplar, the instructor guides the students through the steps of the learning cycle as they engage, explore, and reflect.
- They are meant as useful take-away teaching guides for use with children ages 3-6. The exemplars are written in a step-by-step format to help teachers feel comfortable guiding the children’s explorations. However, the guides are meant to be flexible, like a basic recipe, that each teacher can modify depending on the interests, ages, and developmental level of the students. Teachers can refer to them again and again when working in classrooms with young children.
Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative Resources
The Early Math Collaborative draws on current research to improve math instruction for young children. Their resources are incorporated into this course in the following ways:
- Textbook: the textbook recommended for the course is Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know. This book is based on “Big Ideas,” of developmentally appropriate foundational mathematical knowledge and concepts. These ideas are based on the most current research from the fields of cognitive science and mathematics education, and connect to the Common Core State Standards. The reading level is accessible to a variety of experience and learning levels.
- In-class activities: The textbook includes numerous activity ideas for application in early childhood classrooms, and has inspired many of the hands-on math activities suggested for class sessions.
- Video clips: The Early Math Collaborative website offers professionally produced video clips showing teachers and children in action to illustrate activities and teaching strategies representing the Big Ideas discussed in the text.
Children’s books that connect to topics covered in the course are recommended to enhance learning on several levels. These books can be used to complement the hands-on math and science activities and to demonstrate how math and science can be integrated with children’s literature. Using children’s storybooks in the class continually grounds students in the developmental needs of young children and models the integrated learning approach endorsed in the course. You may choose to read some or all of a particular book depending on time and your assessment of what makes sense. In case you don’t have a copy of the storybooks, there are a few images from each book included in the PowerPoint slides. If possible, keep the children’s literature collection readily accessible in the classroom for students to look at during break times.
Occasionally, worksheets for in-class activities are used (such as a sorting sheet for sink/float items). Printable versions of these resources are provided.