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Xavier Magazine | March 26, 2017

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Playing with the language of math

By Jen Saltsman

Associate professor of education Deborah Kuchey had a small amount of summer homework: Read 60 preschool math books translated from Korean into English and edit them for language and math concepts.

She did it in a month.

Kuchey, a math education specialist, was hired by Eye Level, a Korean company that offers special math and language programs for preschool children ages 3, 4 and 5. With headquarters in Korea and now New York, the company is expanding into the U.S., and Kuchey was asked to make sure their Play Math curriculum reads well and meets American standards of preschool math instruction.

Kuchey used the new common core standards as her guide for aligning the Play Math concepts, which included number sequencing, counting, matching, naming shapes. Everything but subitizing. Subi what? That’s teacher terminology for counting from a random number, rather than starting always with number 1.

“Subitizing is part of counting and cardinality,” she says. “I told them it was missing.” Now, hopefully, children at Eye Level programs are learning how to count no matter where they start.

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