In the discussions on the importance and impact of early math skills on future achievement in reading and other “school” skills let’s be clear. What EARLY Math skills?
- This is not repeating the sequence of numbers in order to 100.
- This is not filling in the blanks to complete equations about adding and subtracting on drugstore book worksheets.
- This is not referring to reciting lists of “number facts”.
- This is not worksheets that direct children to colour the squares blue, the rectangles green, the circles yellow and the triangles purple.
- This is not worksheets that require children to count random groups of objects and print the total in the blank.
EARLY MATH SKILLS include:
1.) Learning and applying positional language to describe objects, movements and positions in space. The book is beside the chair. The ball is on top of the table. The fork is to the left of the plate, the knife to the right. As children engage with puzzles, blocks, toys, daily routines they are encouraged to apply terms that describe positions and movements. Here’s an example of one the sets of B.E.R.C.S. cards that develop positional language.
2.) Physically touching and manipulating objects and materials. Using your hands to coordinate movements and to actually touch and move things. Puzzles that require children to fit pieces into spaces by matching, sliding, turning, flipping. PHYSICALLY using your hands to move and fit the pieces. NOT SLIDING IMAGES ON A TOUCH SCREEN. The physical actions of moving things to fit, positioning things to balance. Tracing and describing the outlines. Stretching your brain to try to imagine and explain or re see what pieces fit where…. I use ChunkZ pieces to develop these motor skills alongside some imagery for number.
3.) Building structures with blocks, cards, cups. But as children build, show interest. Ask questions, use positional language. Encourage children to describe their builds, to compare their builds, to consider how the positions of the base blocks help add stability, where to place the next block to maintain balance, to widen the structure. to close their eyes and describe their build, diagram their build-take it apart-follow their diagram to rebuild. SHOW INTEREST.
A sample of B.E.R.C.S. cards that widen the building focus to number :
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