William’s class starts their Kindy BASE testing this week, which is a program to assess each child’s current skills across a range of different subjects. I’ve always preferred child-directed play, as opposed to guided play or intentional teaching. However, now that he is in school, I guess the teachers will be working with us to strike a balance between all three methods in William’s learning journey.
Despite this, I continue to see the positive impact of open-ended play. Take maths for example, sometime last year, William learnt how to add and subtract. He would be playing shop and I’d ask him how much items cost. When I’ve chosen my goods, I ask him how much money I need to pay him in exchange and he has a think and works it out (usually the sums come under $20). When I ask him how he works it out, he tells me: “in my brain, I imagine different coloured dots, I move the dots across and I just figure it out”. I’ve never intentionally bought my kids any ‘educational toys’ aimed at learning maths (think number tracing boards, or counting games), but a good set of blocks and some grapat sets are all we’ve ever needed to encourage developing these early skills.
Additionally, we always integrate maths thinking into day to day life. For example:
1) Counting things, like the number of steps walking up a new set of stairs.
2) Recognising sizes and order, for example, we play a game of eating strawberries from the largest to the smallest in a punnet.
3) Talking about shapes, like drawing a circle on paper, but our soccer ball, which is also perfectly round, is called a sphere.
4) Learning measurements by helping with cooking/baking in the kitchen.
5) Solving simple problems for example, how many more slices of cake do we need to make sure everyone has a slice.
What are some ways you integrate maths in your child’s day to day? - 8 minutes ago