Lecturer at the School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University
This article first appeared in MAPE Focus on Literacy Autumn 1998
There are two important ways you can help your young children with Maths.
Conversation, stories, rhymes and games.
When you read a story which involves numbers make a point of discussing the maths
Talk about the numbers in Nursery Rhymes and songs.
Rhymes and counting are very valuable means of helping young children form concepts, particularly about number.
Have you noticed how many stories for young children involve numbers? Think of
Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This is particularly good for one-to-one matching, how
many bowls, spoons, chairs, beds are needed?
The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and the Three Little Pigs are other examples; there are many more.
Similarly many nursery rhymes and songs are number based. 'One, two, three, four, five', 'One, two, Buckle my Shoe', 'Five currant buns' and 'Five little speckled frogs'.
Talk maths whenever the opportunity arises. Involve the children in the maths you have
to do as part and parcel of your daily routine.
Imaginative play, role play, sand and water play give plenty of scope for mathematical experiences.
However you feel you can help your child the most important thing is to encourage your children to observe, talk and question.
Developing children's mathematical vocabulary
In many activities there is the opportunity to extend mathematical vocabulary. Much of the vocabulary is common to all activities. Here is a basic, but by no means exhaustive, list of some of the words that you could encourage your children to use:
|how many? altogether||Week||Compare||Pyramid|
|one, two, three,...||Morning||Bigger/smaller||Sphere|
|first, second, third...||Afternoon||Longer/shorter/taller||Cone|
|more than/less than||Evening||Thinner/fatter||Circle|
|the same as||Night||wider||Triangle|
|how many times?||Wednesday||Weigh||Star|
|How much?||In front of/behind|
|What could we try next?||Up/down|
|How did you work it out?|
|Why do you think?||© MAPE 1999|
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