September is almost here, which for most preschool teachers means it’s time to checking off the list of things to do while it’s still summer in anticipation of returning to the classroom after Labor Day. One thing that may be on that list of solidifying your preschool lesson plans for math.
With the gaining popularity of my post How to Write Preschool Lesson Plans a Year in Advance, I continue to get more and more questions about how to prepare for math. What skills need to be taught and in what order? Today I’m not only sharing with you my actual and real preschool math lesson plans, but I’m sharing with you exactly how I went about writing them.
The Five Disciplines of Math
There are five disciplines of math, so my goal, even as a preschool teacher, is to incorporate all those disciplines into my lesson plans. Those five disciplines are: number sense (counting and adding and subtracting), algebra (positions and patterns), geometry (shapes), measurement and data analysis (graphing). Every one of them can be taught in preschool.
The question then becomes, “How do I teach all five disciplines in a sequential and intentional manner when I only have my preschoolers for a total of five to seven hours a week?” It sounds like a lot to cover in a short amount of time. And it is…
But, I have a solution.
Spiraling Preschool Lesson Plans for Math
The answer is to spiral the math curriculum.
That means to not teach concepts in whole units, but to break them up to spread out the learning over time. Rather than teaching the entire unit in a concentrated amount of time and keeping your fingers crossed that the students mastered everything you taught, you have the opportunity to return to the content. So, instead of spending the entire month of September learning about shapes (geometry), you might focus on shapes for a week and then teach a week on measurement, counting for a week, and so on.
But I did tweak the traditional spiraling concept for my preschool math lesson plans.
Stay At Home Educator’s Preschool Lesson Plans for Math
I know the importance of building number sense. I believe it is the most important math discipline because without competence in number sense most cannot be competent in other disciplines. Number sense includes counting and identifying quantities, number recognition, subitizing, addition and subtraction, as well as more abstract concepts like number relationships and using mathematics in real world situations. We want children to develop very strong number sense skills because we want them to have fluidity and ease in these foundational math concepts.
So, with number sense being so important, I like to break it down so that my preschoolers are getting practice and reinforcement all year long. In my math lesson plans, we spiral back to the number sense strand nearly every other week.
This is How I Spiral
The first three months of my scope and sequence looks like this:
School Week 1 – Shapes
School Week 2 – Counting 0-5
School Week 3 – Sorting
School Week 4 – Counting 0-5
School Week 5 – Patterning
School Week 6 – Counting 0-5
School Week 7 – Measurement
School Week 8 – Counting 0-5
School Week 9 – Graphing
School Week 10 – Counting 0-10
School Week 11 – Shapes
School Week 12 – Counting 0-10
So, then, I took my preschool math units, which all have four weeks, and divided them up according to weeks, so then it looked like this:
School Week 1 – Shapes Week 1
School Week 2 – Counting 0-5 Week 1
School Week 3 – Sorting Week 1
School Week 4 – Counting 0-5 Week 2
School Week 5 – Patterning Week 1
School Week 6 – Counting 0-5 Week 3
School Week 7 – Measurement Week 1
School Week 8 – Counting 0-5 Week 4
School Week 9 – Graphing Week 1
School Week 10 – Counting 0-10 Week 1
School Week 11 – Shapes Week 2
School Week 12 – Counting 0-10 Week 2
As you can see in the above, I broke down the number sense discipline into even more groups, focusing on building strong skills in counting 0-5, then counting 0-10, counting 0-20, and finally addition and subtraction. With them subdivided like this, my preschoolers get more practice and reinforcement in number sense skills every other week, in addition to the fun and little activities, like counting songs, that we do on a daily basis.
The Daily Outline of My Math Time in Preschool
My daily lesson plans cover some important elements which I believe are pivotal to the success of my students.
I start my preschoolers off with a “problem of the day”, which is a short review, hands-on math problem that gets our brains into the math mindset. Then we read and discuss some math books (that’s for another post) related to the unit content, followed by small group concept or skill work. Finally, our math time ends with centers. I’ve designed eight centers per math unit, which means two new centers each week for my students. And of course, these same math skills get reinforced in free choice centers, too, like in the dramatic play and block areas.
Now, we don’t do all of this every single day…at least not all the time. I take cues from the children, but as usual, I’ve over written my lesson plans so that depending on the day and class I have plenty, and I mean PLENTY of activities and centers to choose from.
Preschool Math Lesson Plans for Sale
I have now walked you through how to write math lesson plans. Yet, you have another option.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Due to reader demand, I am now offering my preschool math lesson plans for sale. You can buy each unit separately, or you can buy the counting units as a bundle. But…the greatest value is in the Yearly Preschool Math Lesson Plans Bundle. By purchasing it bundled you save over 20%!
These are also available at the Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s store.
Included in this bundle are the following units:
~ Counting 0-5
~ Comparing and Sorting
~ Counting 0-10
~ Position and Patterns
~ Counting 0-20
~ Addition and Subtraction
Each unit includes the following:
~ 4 weeks of lesson plans
~ 30+ hands-on activities
~ 8 printable centers
~ 8 optional literacy activities
You will also receive my complete MATH SCOPE AND SEQUENCE, (yup, the rest of the spiraling scope and sequence I shared above), taking the guesswork out of planning your year.
Because you already have enough to do without worrying about how to teach preschool math.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.