Last year I reviewed a DVD from MathTutor. The company provides a DVD with a teacher standing in front of a white board explaining math concepts from basic math on one DVD to Algebra concepts on another. You can read my MathTutor review for those DVDs from my archives. When I got this one on counting for preschoolers, I was a bit hesitant because the teacher before I had been kind straight to the point with no humor and no flash at all. It had been fine for the age group and especially for the length of each lesson. A student could focus on the needed concepts for the time needed without any distractions. I really didn’t think the method would work for preschoolers. Fortunately, the method for Young Minds: Numbers and Counting was right on target for the age group.

The DVD has wonderful full-color pictures and video showing different objects, people, or animals. Along with beautiful classical music from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and others, numbers are placed beside the objects, people, or animals in each scene one at the time as a narrator, a child, demonstrates counting. The child makes a sentence using the counted objects, and if it is an animal or a machine; the sound is played after the child narrator says, “___ makes this sound.” Each chapter counts up to a different number from 1 to 10. The things or people counted are numerous in each chapter to give the child plenty of experience with counting to that number. Bonus chapters use counting with puzzle pieces of pictures and connecting dots to finish pictures. Several preschool skills are addressed with this DVD besides just numbers and counting. The child is exposed to various objects, people in different activities, and animals along with sound recognition skills for the appropriate animal or machine. The bonus sections help the child with picture recognition skills, adding details to an unfinished picture of easily recognized objects, and small part to whole recognition practice with the “Guess what I am” activity.

Although many parents do not like to use television for young children, Young Minds: Numbers and Counting could be beneficial if used periodically for short periods. A parent could use it for a quiet moment together listening to the music and together naming and counting the objects in a chapter. Do one chapter at a time and repeat a chapter a few times before going to the next over a period of a few weeks. The bonus materials could be done similarly. As far as accessibility, I used it with several of my children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders with no problems of significance. It worked well here in the sense that these students need activities with a clear cut beginning and ending. Using the DVD by chapter only gave that clear cut ending. The child narrator already uses brief sentences, but for ASD or other receptive language disorders, the teacher probably needs to shorten the statements to one or two word chunks such as, “Fire Truck, 1, 2.” Or, say, “Red Fire Truck.” Low Vision students will benefit from the full color and contrasting pictures especially with the fact that there is limited motion. Deaf children used the DVD, too, and understood the concepts and were on task without a teacher signing or verbally repeating the narration. I do suggest that communication be added for normal use though. If possible, the MathTutor producers could consider adding closed captions that would benefit some, especially Deaf parents using the DVD with their Deaf children. There are lots of uses for this DVD if a parent is willing to give a little television time for the purpose of learning. Using the program with the child rather than letting the program be a break time for mom could help the program be more of a benefit, too, and relieve some of the fears about overusing the television at this age.

For $19.99, the program is affordable enough to give it a try. Many children will find the program fascinating and find learning to count fun. For more information, go to http://www.mathtutordvd.com/products/item58.cfm.

 MathTutor provided me a copy of Young Minds: Numbers and Counting for the purpose of writing this review. The opinion expressed here is entirely my own. I was not compensated in any other way or asked to write a specific type of review.

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