There are currently two options for kindergarten from Singapore. The Essential Math workbooks are fairly straight forward, while Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics is more involved. Essential Math and Earlybird are fairly basic foundations for pre-1st grade work. For 4- and 5-year-olds, Earlybird is more kid-friendly with full color, engagingillustrations in both the textbooks and activity books.
Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics is not simply a reprint of the older texts by the same name—whereas there was only one bookper semester before (1A and 1B for K4, 2A and 2B for K5), the new series includes a textbook, activity book and teacher's guide for one two-semester school year.The textbooks are similar in content and style to the older editions, while the activity books and teacher's guides offer all-new material.The teacher's guides offer plenty of support for actually teaching the material and for correlating activity and textbook assignments, as well as reduced full student pages with answers; however, the only necessary element is the textbook.
At the bottom of each textbook page are dialog boxes addressed to the teacher describing how to present the concept covered on that page, how to integrate that knowledge with concepts already learned, and how far along the student should be in their understanding. Concepts covered include matching, odered sets, counting, simple measurements, time and money, basic addition and subtraction, etc. This may seem like a lot for pre-grade school kids, but with the help of the teacher's notes in the textbooks or the more extensive information in the teacher's guides you will be able to walk them through each new lesson with ease and clarity. The teacher guides also provide suggestions for incorporating manipulatives with instruction, making this the only Singapore kindergarten book to include manipulative activities as part of the course.
Textbook A Unit 1: Match and Sort
Textbook A Unit 2: Numbers to 5
Textbook A Unit 10: Compare Sets
The Essential Math books essentially follow the method of the Earlybird textbooks: students complete a lesson after being walked through by the teacher who takes her cue from notes in small print at the bottom of each page. These worktexts are less appealing—just black and white drawings—but the activities offer more variety of participation, including pages to color, pictures to draw, etc. There are no supplementary teacher materials here, but you shouldn't need them; you'll be able to correct your students' work without a key, and lessons are all but scripted in the notes on each page.
Our Honest Opinion:
Both of these options are good choices—which one you pick depends largely on your teaching style rather than onhow much your child already knows. The authors don't waste a lot of time trying to get kids to like math (though they are no less enjoyable than most other texts for the same age), their goal is rather to ensure that kids understand math and have a firm foundation on which to build their knowledge. Like the rest of the math products available from Singapore, we highly recommend these.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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