It seems so simple. It can't possibly hold the paramount task of training the brain for math concepts. Does it? Making faces...with shapes? Looks like he's "just playing."
I KNOW!!! PERFECT!!!
This is one of my favorite things about math in the preschool environment. It's so simple. It masks itself in the ordinary, but it's really a GIANT of learning.
These colorful shapes are called "pattern blocks", or "Tangrams." They come in all shapes and sizes and are made to fit together so the child can see different patterns or relationships between them. In the above picture, the relationships are "two triangles make a square."
This little fella' observed that a square was not the desired shape he was after. So he tried again. These seemingly simple toys actually are the foundations for adding (two triangles equal one square), subtracting (what happens when we subtract one triangle), fractions (6 triangles equal a circle), and later geometry (how they fit together to make three dimensional shapes).
These little two dimensional gems are loaded with learning
Each month Mother Goose Time sends us these fabulous pattern matching cards that demonstrate to the children how different shapes go together to make patterns, people, and objects. This is S.T.E.M. in play!
What do all these images have in common? MATH!
Mother Goose Time does a fantastic job of incorporating math into it's daily routines. This spans from the turn based games we play like the upper left image, to our circle/calendar times which give us turns in counting the days of the week, months of the year, the numbers of focus for the week/month (1,2 for September), to the books we read,("A Big Problem!" had logical problem solving included in the plot), to their curriculum enhancement books as age appropriate.
The month of September was Friends and Feelings, therefore everything we did circled around that theme.
We played the turn based game featuring our site words that helped us with not only recognizing our site words, but being able to place letters in proper sequence.
Sequencing whether numbers or letters, patterns, or thoughts is logic. This is a real world math foundation being built that will serve a grander purpose in coming academic years. We build this in preschool with these types of turn based games, books, patterning, and activities that capture our children's interest disguised as play!
"By carefully planning classroom experiences, one can help children develop logic and reasoning skills that they can use to make sense of their world." - http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/ages-stages-helping-children-develop-logic-reasoning-skills
Why developing math skills is so much more than writing numbers...
Developing a "math brain" is more than a child learning to count 1-20. It's more than being able to trace numbers 1-10 before the Kindergarten entrance exam. It involves a process of thinking that shapes (no pun intended...o.k....maybe a little intended!) the way we look at a problem, and ultimately are able to reach a workable solution. It's critical thinking and it happens, for the most part, off the worksheet.
Critical thinking happens on the playground and in the playroom while playing games with a friend and reaching a problem, then coming up with a solution. We facilitate this thinking by providing tools, social/emotional development, books, games, and materials that will allow them to recognize, hypothesis, and create solutions to problems as they arise.
Critical thinking skills that begin as making a pie with six triangles become Algebra II. They become the man that builds your house.
With all these considerations for the children of differing stages of development how do we make certain each child is being properly served?
Here are some more great articles on the power of play and developing critical thinking skills necessary for mathematical development.
As always...I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com