Where Preschool Kids' Play Counts! With Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Games Cards young, preschool age children will literally play into knowing how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Background and PhilosophyBehind Carlito C. Caterpillar s MathHouse Games More than two thousand years ago, the most celebrated mathematician of antiquity, Archimedes, summarized his approach to learning as follows: I thought fit to write out for you and explain in detail . . . the peculiarity of a certain method, by which it will be possible for you to get a start to enable you to investigate some of the problems in mathematics by means of mechanics. . . Certain things became clear to me by a mechanical method, although they had to be demonstrated by geometry afterwards. His point is that we acquire understanding and knowledge best when we, first, solve problems through mechanical or physical, hands-on, routines and afterwards learn the underlying theory. From the beginning of civilization, it is the approach that has been responsible for the technological advances of societies. It is difficult to internalize something which is not concrete, visible or tactile and end up memorizing simply to pass a test. It may be why we don t do better in math and cannot wait to be finished with it. I thought that if the universe was Galileo s laboratory, then, these kids had a point to have their classroom become a laboratory for their universe. I realized that a teacher is not a dispenser of information, but a guide who enables students to develop their individual inner potential. It was the beginning of my transformation as a teacher. Learning by doing is natural to us because it is innate. From when we are infants, we see, we smell, we touch, we listen, and we taste. We experience our world in many different ways some elegant, some yucky and some quite painful. Then, we are in class and too often talked to rather than engaged in experiences that foster deep learning and real understanding. I retired from the classroom, after thirty-two years teaching math to middle school and high school students. It happened at the same time that our first grandchild was born. Bill Haljun, my son in law's father, shared my concerns about math education in the United States.He encouraged me to develop a math program for preschool children. We wanted our students to learn concepts without feeling that they were being taught. So the setting had to be familiar but not like a classroom. The presentation should not have the tone of a lesson but that of a conversation. We asked ourselves such questions as, what do young children love to do best and how do they learn best? Games!!! We called the method c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System. c3pla Sensory Math Teaching System comes to life in Carlito C. Caterpillar s MathHouse Games in a 20 Step learning journey. Unlike most core curricula, the c3pla journey consists of games a parent plays with their child. These are special games, engaging and easy to play, that use things around the house and your neighborhood. Each Step consists of two games explained, step by step, on the side of each card. Read the way the game is played. Check out the illustration on the card. Then just play the game. You probably won t even need to refer to the card. But each game teaches or reinforces a Step along the path to learning math. Beginning first with Step (1) Sets or collections of related things; through Step (6) More or Less or comparing quantities; and looking at Step (12) Counting Beads ; to mention just three Steps along the way, parent and child arrive at Step (19) Duplicating Operation and Step (20) Folding down Operation .