Two members of Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative spoke to the Harvard Education Letter about implementing the Common Core standards in the earliest grades.

The mathematics standards for students in kindergarten through second grade include a specific focus on numbers, addition, and subtraction.

“It’s a welcome change from what we had before,” says Jeanine Brownell, assistant director of programming. Brownell adds that the previous curriculum was bloated, where “anything that would sell to a national market had to meet every state’s requirement.”

Concerns about higher standards trickling down

In third grade, the Common Core standards jump sharply. Students must master multiplication and division, and begin learning about fractions.

“There’s a huge increase in conceptual expectations,” says Lisa Ginet, assistant director of instruction for the Collaborative. She cautions against teachers prematurely pushing parts of the third-grade curriculum down to lower grades.

HARVARD EDUCATION LETTER: Common Core for Young Learners (subscription required)