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Power to change: Math as a social-emotional language in a classroom of 4 and 5 year olds

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In this paper, we—Elinor Albin, a classroom teacher in the pre-kindergarten classroom at an independent elementary school in Boston, Massachusetts, and Gretchen Vice, the school’s dean of faculty—review our work in the early childhood classroom there. In the fall of 2014, we, along with Elinor’s co-teacher, Karen First, joined together to explore the many ways we could incorporate numeracy, measurement, algebra, and logical thinking into our daily schedule in relation to the growth of children’s social-emotional skills. While the development of both mathematical and social-emotional skills is immersed within our school’s early childhood classrooms, we seldom use numeracy as a tool for building emotional intelligence. Through our work with students around the question, What does it mean to be powerful?, we found a way to blend social-emotional learning and developmentally appropriate number concepts in a meaningful way for our students. (author abstract)

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