Friday, May 7, 2010

Early Mathematics for Pre-school Children

For many adults, sadly, the idea of mathematics is associated with anxiety, confusion and failure.

For young children this is not so .Their experience of life is not divided up under subject headings and they encounter mathematical ideas and concepts as part of the whole enjoyable and fascinating process of finding out about and making sense of the rich, mysterious world they live in.

In math as in everything else, children‘s understanding is based on personal experience and experiment .Children have to observe and explore the concrete world., using their senses, before they can deal with abstract ideas .They learn about space first of all by moving through it; about numbers by handling numbers of things; about variable quantity by seeing for example that their dinner is ‘all gone’.

Mathematics should include in pre-school because of it’s a subject that is learnt as a mental activity and it is to do with numbers requiring skills to make sense of sums or computation exercises. As children grow and develop their mathematical activities .The youngest children explore, begin to group and sort objects, and make comparisons. Then, they maybe ready for labels for their mathematical thinking and for recoding their discoveries using mathematical symbols. Through the early children years, mathematics should continue to be a manipulative activity by McCracken, 1987

Early mathematics for pre-school children is a subject area that promotes children‘s thinking .Again, children’s immediate environment is full of number concepts .Through exploration and discovery ,they learn about sizes ,shapes, differentiation and discrimination of mathematics concepts like , equal ,the same as, light, heavy ,small ,big,high,low, long, short ,bigger then, smaller than and so forth.

Two daily classroom or activities always doing in our preschool and homeschool are play sand and water. Children learn math effectively through sand and water:

Learning the language math by being encouraged to think about full and half full; about more and less; about larger and smaller.

Learning about conservation by seeing that the water which fills a tall narrow jug will also fit exactly in to a square plastic box and will then fill the tall jug again if poured carefully back into it.

Learning about capacity, as they pour dry sand or water to fill a container exactly without overfilling it, or fill moulds with damp sand to make sand pies, children see that different containers need different quantities to fill them and that each container requires the same amount each time. They can begin to make predictions about how much they need and can be invited to estimate, for example, how many of the yellow pots if would take fill the blue jug.

Learning about shapes, as they transfer sand water form one container to another .children can bee helped to sort out round ones from square ones; short fat ones from tall thin ones. They might find that they need to know words like cylinder. If they are provide with graduated measuring beakers they will see that things can be the same shape but different sizes.

Learning about quantity, children playing with damp and, setting up road systems and clearing tracks for cars or arranging rivers, valleys and mountains, are coming to recognize how much sand they need to build up the hill they want ;how many times the tipper truck will have to filled to clear ‘landslide’.

Learning about sets. When they come to conclusion about which things will float and which will sink, which materials absorbs water and which not ,which shapes will make moulds for sand pies and which will not ,children are dividing things into categories, which is a mathematical process.

The roles of the teacher/educators in enhancing children’s mathematical thinking are provide experience programs that further enhance children’s perceptions of themselves as competent, confident learners who ask questions, plan, reflect and predict. Programs must allow children to develop confidence to choose and experiment with materials, to play with ideas and to actively explore with all their senses.

Early childhood educators must foster cooperative learning skills and ensure that children have access to information through experimentation, questioning and consultation .Educators must pose challenges which encourage speculation and exploration of the unknown. Provide experiences which allow children to explore cause and effect and encourage children to review their action or thoughts.


Teacher support and promote early mathematics learning by learning environment, learning material and learning strategies.
Early childhood is when and where children begin to discover that math is all around them. They use, enjoy, and think about math and don't even realize it. Math activities are embedded in real-life activities and "help children develop language as they ask questions, develop fine motor skills as they touch and move objects, and improve social skills as they work" with parents and others on a problem (Fromboluti & Rinck, 1999). All children develop at different rates. Visually impaired students may need extra time to develop and learn, so it is extremely important that they are given opportunities to participate and learn at an early age. There is a great wealth of information on teaching mathematics in early childhood that is not specific to visual impairment. Nevertheless, many of these activities either need no adaptation or can be easily adapted. Just make sure that the adaptations are appropriate.

‘Always remember, Mathematics should not be split off from everyday life. Mathematics is everywhere’ by Bruce.1996)

* The natural place of anyone to encounter sand and water is out of doors.Here children can get down to work with buckets ,trucks and 'diggers' as well as having the experience of wriggling their toes in the sand....*