Omaha, Neb. — Children begin mathematical thinking at a very young age, learning concepts that will help them understand more complex math later in life. Nurturing their natural curiosity about math and developing math skills is the focus of the third institute of the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan “Professional Development for All” 2017-2018 series.
The event, entitled “Children as Mathematicians: Early Math That Matters the Most,” is offered Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St. in Omaha. The institute runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The institute will be repeated Saturday, Jan. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., also at the Kroc Center. Spanish language translation will be offered Saturday.
Over the two days, more than 200 child care providers, teachers, and other professionals who work with children from birth – Grade 3 will explore new research-based ideas about children’s learning, as well as educational practices that engage young children and their families.
Developed by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and funded by the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, the free professional development series is now in its third year. “PD for All” is designed to introduce leading-edge research and innovative practices to those who work with young children and their families. Additionally, the institutes give early childhood professionals the chance to come together and learn from each other.
“Such catch phrases as math is everywhere and young children are born mathematicians appear often. Both are certainly true, but research also highlights that we must be more intentional than ever about making sure young children of every age, birth ̶ age 8, and in every setting receive high-quality and challenging learning experiences in math,” said Chris Maxwell, director of program development at the Buffett Institute. “Understanding early mathematical concepts and feeling confident in their use are important and exciting goals both for young children and for the educators who care for and teach them.”
Staff from Erikson Institute's Early Math Collaborative will lead the institute. The Collaborative is part of Erikson Institute, the nation's premier graduate school of child development. Presenters will include Lisa Ginet, director; Mary Hynes-Berry, senior content developer; Donna Johnson, assistant director of school support services; and Lisa Ferguson and Jill Sapoznick, math coaches and professional development facilitators.
This week’s institute is the third in a series of five sessions planned for 2017-18. Other upcoming institutes include "Children as Researchers: Reading to Learn Can Start Early" (March 1 or 3); and "Children as Expressive Artists: Integrating the Arts as a Tool for Learning" (date TBA).