The older a child gets the harder it is to get them to engage with and truly appreciate mathematics and the powerful reasoning behind it. Therefore, introducing maths at an early age is of crucial importance: not only does it help them understand how to deal with abstract symbols, like numbers, but more importantly it helps them develop problem solving and reasoning skills.
Children need to be given an opportunity to practice their skills with numbers, linking them to concrete quantities, which are out there in the physical world, their sensory world. Knowledge of shapes and patterns also improves their competence and confidence in using mathematical concepts and language.
However, shapes, space, and measures is a key area that the Government is considering to remove from the Early Years curriculum from next year. As an outstanding nursery school, we place a lot of value on this area and we will certainly continue teaching and developing it. In this post, we summarise some of the things you can do at home to support your child’s learning in this area, which is so beneficial to children.
Children need to be able to experiment with making marks from an early age using a range of resources as well as their sense and their bodies. There is a wide set of skills that children need to master in order to be able to use mark-making tools effectively, such as dexterity and coordination, and purely cognitive skills like dealing with symbols. Parents, carers and teachers all need to get on board and become more fascinated by children’s mark-making journeys and provide a wealth of opportunities to celebrate achievements and development of these skills.
“What did I do today? Let me think”
Eloise, age 4
During our “focused weeks” this Summer Term we explored in detail a specific educational approach every time. As part of this process, we made a lot of progress in implementing more elements of the High Scope approach. This is one of the four core early years educational methodologies that we follow as part of our overall hybrid philosophy.
Our hybrid educational approach at Alphablocks Nursery School has been recognised for its beneficial mix of pedagogical methods, which are naturally incorporated in our everyday practice and guide our children’s learning journeys. During this Spring Term we are focusing on a different approach every two-week ‘cycle’ (we call these ‘focused weeks’). Regular updates will be published in our blog.
Children at the age of two start developing a strong drive for independence and determination. They begin to want to do things for themselves. Most of the time this drive does not coincide with their actual abilities to do things in a timely or effective way. For example, children might not have the specific coordination skills required to put on their clothes by themselves. So, quite often, parents or teachers decide to step in to help them. However, this is not the most effective approach. Children need to be offered opportunities to master new skills in order to feel capable of taking on new responsibilities. They need to learn through trial and error.