“Children are born Mathematicians” Eugene Geist
Children from a very young age, are absorbing and developing emergent mathematical theories and constructs. They are able to use their senses to understand the world, even before they develop language.
Parents and educators can promote “school ready” mathematical skills by a combination of intentional teaching of concepts and using opportunities for reinforcing ideas and language while engaging in every-day activities. Language development is critical for children to develop understanding, and to be able to express their ideas. Take every opportunity to use the words listed below as you are conversing with your young child. Read stories, sing songs and teach rhymes with these concepts.
In the pre-school years children will absorb many mathematical concepts. It is essential that they also develop the language necessary to talk about these ideas. Children of this age learn well though hands on, concrete materials.
Number Sense – Learning to count with one to one relationship, early ideas of addition and subtraction – more, less, take away.
Measurement and comparisons – Size, weight, length. Long, longer, longest, short, shorter, shortest
Heavy, light, big, small, little, tall, near, far, empty, full, half, equal to. How tall are you? Who is the tallest in the family?
Time – Basic understanding of times in the day, hours, minutes, weeks, months, age, older, younger, soon, later, before, after, then
Shapes – Circle, square, triangle, oval, and other geometric shapes, straight line, wavy line, cube, and solid shapes. Round,
Spatial Relationships – Part, whole, over, under, in, out, in front of, behind, over, above, high, low, between, on
Matching, comparing, classifying, sequences and patterns, – Same, different, match one aspect such as colour, shape, size, identify and copy patterns. Bigger, smaller, colour names, same, different, more, less
Seriation and Ordering – Put objects in order of size, weight, length. First, second, third, last.
Predicting and estimating – Understanding cause and effect relationships, predicting story endings, what will happen if? How many peas are on your plate?
Logic and Problem solving – As your child’s understanding grows, involve him or her in helping to solve every day problems. Talk through the steps you are taking to complete a job such as household repairs. Ask them to help you divide snacks up so each person gets the same amount.
Use every Day Activities to promote children’s mathematical learning.
Cooking provides many opportunities to discuss mathematical concepts –
Reading the recipe, finding each item needed, and placing it in the order it is to be used. Weighing and measuring ingredients – is the cup full, how heavy is it? Add some more, take some away, divide the mixture into equal sizes for biscuits and pancakes. How long will it cook? Use cookie cutter shapes.
Make a list of items to find, and tick them off as you find them. When will you leave, how far away are the shops, how long will that take? Are the items high or low, big or small, heavy or light? Will the items fit in the trolley?
On the way, count cars or busses, identify colours, Identify street signs with numbers, turn right, turn left, go slow, go fast, stop. Identify shapes you see. Count steps from the car to the shop.
Setting the table
How many people? How many forks, knives, plates etc? Big or small plates. Are there the right number of chairs? Fill the water jug. Who has the biggest serving?
Toys and Games for Maths Concepts
Board games, construction materials such as blocks, magnetic shapes, mobile, jig saw puzzles, card games, railway tracks, car parking, play dough, sand and water play with measuring jugs and cups, arranging natural objects. Pretend play with other children or adults – for example shops, hospitals, café. Sorting household objects such as buttons, containers, or the clean laundry..
Have a monthly measurement chart for your child.
Keep a weather calendar
Involve your child in writing important events on a yearly calendar. Count down the days till events are going to happen.
Write up a daily routine with times for usual activities.
Interacting and talking with your child will give you an understanding of their emerging mathematical understandings.
If you have any concerns, discuss them with your child’s educator who can give you information about the child’s progress at preschool.
Dr Stacey Fox of the Mitchell Institute says, “All of the evidence shows that two years of high-quality preschool is one of the best ways to amplify children’s learning and development”. The report Pre-school – Two years are better than one, stated that “It is time for Australia to pursue a national commitment to ensuring that all 3 year olds have access to high-quality early education by offering a second year of preschool.
This viewpoint is supported by the Federal Education Minister and the South Australian Premier, who both are looking at ways to invest in the additional year of preschool.
There have been many studies to see what the advantages of two years of pre-school are. Here are some of the findings –
- A High Quality Pre- Kindergarten program prepares children to take maximum advantage of their 4 year old Kindergarten year which concentrates on developing “School Ready Skills”. Younger children develop many skills through close association with their older peers.
- The Early Years Learning Framework, with its emphasis on learning through play, ensures that planned activities are age appropriate, and based on the individual interests and skill levels of the children.
- Preschool activities have an emphasis on the Social, Emotional Development of each child. Children learn best in a caring environment where these skills are encouraged. Children learn how to interact with others, to make friends, to take turns, to empathise, to resolve conflict constructively, and to identify and control their emotions. Children develop self- esteem, and belief in their own capabilities through practising self-help skills, and helping to care for the indoor and outdoor environment.
- Pre-school teachers are trained to identify, and to work with children who have additional needs. The earlier these needs are identified and planned for, the less children will fall behind peers at school.
- Through interacting with Early Childhood teachers, and participating in group times and programmed activities, language and cognitive skills are promoted. Kindergartens are language rich environments. Children are involved in discussions, answering questions, early literacy activities and letter recognition, stories and singing. New words are introduced through hands on science, maths, environmental awareness and creative activities.
- Children’s creativity and innovative thinking is enriched by art, craft, constructing, dress-ups, pretend play. The routine is flexible, and teachers value children’s spontaneous ideas for play. Mathematic and logic skills are developed through a wide range of activities such as using Montessori equipment, building with blocks, railway tracks, farm sets, sorting, ordering, comparing and fitting together.
- The Preschool environment is designed to develop motor skills and physical fitness. Children are encouraged to participate in activities which develop fine motor skills needed for writing. In the outdoor environment children can run, hop, skip, slide and swing, ride bikes, develop ball skills, dig in the sand and dirt, and construct with large blocks.
- Preschool teachers stimulate children’s curiosity and desireto learn and find out how things work. They encourage children to be creative, and to investigate and solve problems. They observe children’s interests, and plan activities to help them answer their own questions.
- Preschool is a safe, happy, friendly, nurturing environment, where children have fun. They have opportunities to make decisions and to try out their own ideas in a relaxed, supportive environment.
Visit your chosen Pre-school to ensure that you are confident that the educators will nurture your child and cater for his or her individual needs. Directors and educators will answer your questions and concerns, and explain the program, routines, and how they can partner with you to promote optimal outcomes for your child.
Montessori at Brooklyn Park Private Kindergarten
In this post I would like to give you a brief introduction to the Montessori education method and philosophy. We believe that the Montessori philosophy blends well with our centre philosophy, and the Montessori education method aligns well with our exceptional preschool program. Children will have enhanced school readiness through using the hands-on materials for learning letters and mathematical concepts, and through experiencing the wider Montessori curriculum.
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.
It sees children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
Montessori students learn to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—a vital skill set for the 21st century.
Montessori education offers children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.
Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognises that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he/she is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualised learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging self-regulation.
Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom resembles a family structure. Older students enjoy being mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working with their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. The child’s curiosity and interest results in joyous learning.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori education. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognising, correcting, and learning from their errors.
In this section of work, children find materials and exercises from their every day life – eg. pouring water from a jug to a glass, or learning how to tie a shoelace. These activities help children’s independence.
Activities in this section allow children to refine each of their senses. They will appreciate color or texture differences, organise objects in the environment and refine their sense of pitch from the music they hear .
Children are taught language through a progression of lessons. They first learn the different sounds in a word. Children then learn language phonetically. Later they learn the different “rules” in language and the exceptions to those rules. They will learn to spell and read fluently.
Children first learn to count from 1-10 through understanding the concept that those numbers represent a specific amount. Progressing through the materials children will learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and truly understand what each one means in a deeper sense. Montessori offers the child a strong and solid foundation in the understanding of mathematics.
The Cultural area of the Montessori classroom covers a variety of subjects. Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History are included. Art and Music are also considered a part of the Cultural Area of the classroom. Maria felt that having knowledge and understanding of such subjects is what makes one a “cultured” person.
Sites on the internet that have videos of the materials, and explanations of the equipment are –
American Montessori Society (2017) https://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori/Benefits-of-Montessori, Montessori Australia Foundation (2017) https://montessori.org.au/about-montessori
Montessori Australia Foundation (2017) https://montessori.org.au/montessori-materials
Congratulations to Tanya, Tamara, Kara and Emma
In her recent visit to Brooklyn Park Private Kindergarten, the assessor from the Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board of South Australia, awarded The highest possible rating of the National Quality Standard to the Centre.
Not only did the centre achieve Exceeding the National Quality Standard in all of the 7 areas assessed, it also achieved Exceeding in all 59 of the subcategories – a rare result, especially for a new centre.
Parents can rest assured that their children are receiving the best possible education and care while attending the Centre.
Brooklyn Park, and our sister centre, Glandore Private Kindergarten and Child Care Centre, continually strive for quality improvement in all areas of our operations.
Parents are encouraged to develop partnerships with our centres, to give us feedback and advice to enable us to continue improving.
At our recent A.G.M. for the South Australian branch of the Australian Childcare Alliance, the guest speaker was Dr Ron Somers, who presented his research into Safe Sleeping for babies. Sadly, there have been several research studies in the last decades identifying soft mattresses as a cause of sudden infant death syndrome – SIDS. If safe sleeping surfaces for babies had been regulated, many of these deaths would not have occurred.
Dr Somers, who lectures at the University of Adelaide, was one of the leading developers of a new standard to specify firmness of baby mattresses. This is so far only a voluntary standard, but he is hoping that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will adopt it as a regulated requirement for Australian suppliers.
“A baby sleeping on a surface that is too soft has more than 3 times the chance of dying from sudden infant death than one sleeping on a surface tested to this new Australian standard”, says Dr Somers. “There is often an assumption that the firmness of baby products is regulated but, alarmingly, it isn’t”. Dr Somers continues, “This is an oversight and an area of infant safety that has been neglected.”
For parents who are using existing mattresses and equipment, Dr Somers has developed an informal test that can be conducted by parents at home, using common household objects such as two cartons of milk or juice and a stack of DVDs to measure the firmness of a sleeping surface (see above video and also Identifying a properly firm Infant Matress) He has also developed a “firmometer” for this test. Dr Somers website is Secure Beginnings
At our Glandore Centre, we have an ongoing testing program of the firmness of our baby mattresses. We have purchased a firmometer to do this. Any mattresses which do not pass the quarterly test are replaced.
We believe that it is so important that babies sleep safely that we are making the firmometer available to parents to test their own mattresses. Talk to Tanya to arrange to borrow the guage.
SIDS and Kids also recommends parent’s follow the ‘Sleep Safe, My Baby‘ guidelines to reduce the risk of sudden infant death and to create a safe sleeping environment.
- Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side, sleep at bottom of cot
- Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
- Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
- Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day
- Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
- Breastfeed baby if possible
- No soft mattresses, bumpers or soft toys
More information on Home Safety for Babies
Please share this information with other families with babies.
Now that we have started our Facebook Page, we will use it to keep parents informed of upcoming events, and about the activities the children are engaged in.
We also use the Parent Portal to share children’s learning stories, and the check out system to inform about daily events.
We have decided to use this page to share information about topics of interest to parents and educators. Please give us feedback about our communication methods, and let us know if they are working for your family. Also please give us feedback about the articles. We would welcome suggestions for topics.
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