Thinking and Learning About Mathematics in the Early Years by Linda Pound

By Linda Pound

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With her help he drew it on the flipchart. In addition J. looks for the longest piece of hosepipe. J. sets out tyres and planks to create a course for trucks and bikes. In doing this he creates a symmetrical pattern. J. is able to steer a path between a number of different obstacles very accurately. Holding up ten fingers, J. explains to adult: I had ten planks and I made three parking bays – see? (bunching fingers together in threes). So now I’ve got one left and I need two more. J. continues: I think I need two more.

Children generally enjoy joining in with these number songs and rhymes. In addition there are a number of books that use known tunes to develop counting songs. Over in the Grasslands (Wilson and Bartlett 2002), for example, uses the form and structure of the song ‘Down in the Jungle where Nobody Goes’ to create a counting book featuring a mother rhinoceros and 1 baby; a mother hippopotamus and 2 babies, a mother eagle and 3 baby eagles and so on. Songs and rhymes can be made even more attractive to children by creating songs tailored to their specific interests.

Wide-ranging and extensive real-life, practical and meaningful experiences are needed to ensure that children are enabled to build firm foundations for learning about mathematics. Building such foundations will also involve learning to: ᭤ ᭤ ᭤ ᭤ guess or estimate think in the abstract identify patterns and find and solve problems. 21 Chapter 3 Maths is about life Mathematics is not about number but about life. (Devlin 2000: 76) In this chapter you will: ᭤ consider some opportunities for supporting mathematical development in everyday experiences and activities; ᭤ review the importance of helping children to make connections; ᭤ explore the importance of developing opportunities for mathematical development in children’s imaginative play; and ᭤ think about ways of identifying children’s key enthusiasms and using them to promote mathematical development.

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