Many people don’t enjoy maths, but the key to developing an interest in the subject is having a solid foundation laid. Parents, family members, and teachers can adopt various methods to engage the child in learning mathematical abilities.
As math goes beyond school, one thing is sure, parents and teachers need to go beyond pen and paper! Adding a mathematical touch to the lives of young ones with some sprinkles, colors, and lots of exploration can bring out the happy learner in them.
But what is appropriate for their age is still a question. So, here we have essential math concepts you need to teach your child before they climb to the 1st grade.
Must learn math concepts for building fundamentals in little learners
Kindergartners do not always enjoy the idea of studying, but the following concepts are essential to learning and can be easily made fun to learn.
Counting is the best thing for any toddler to start learning, and many parents start teaching their young ones counting numbers as soon as they begin speaking sentences. Counting as a skill, when acquired, will help the child to explore their own mental and physical world. From counting the number of objects in a room to counting the stars, toddlers learn the essential skill of their age. Once they know how to measure, helping them identify these numbers on a calendar or a textbook is the final step in learning to count. At the same time, preschoolers can be indulged in some counting games for a much more facile learning experience.
Additions involving two-digit numbers, especially under the 50s, are recommended for kindergartens, and one-digit numbers are suggested for preschoolers. The perfect way to teach a preschooler or kindergartner is through word problems that are more reality-oriented. For instance, 2 birds are flying in the sky, and 3 more join them; how many in total are there? Questions like these will help them explore a variety of things and their surroundings and learn addition in a more naturalistic manner. Later, sums on addition, strategies, and games like using fingertips or making lines and counting them can help the child learn addition.
Subtraction is yet another mathematical operation that a kindergartner needs to master. Unlike addition, subtraction is something most kindergartners do not enjoy, as their mental abilities are still minimal and one-sided; they often need clarification on what strategies to apply. Sometimes, they end up counting the way they are taught in addition. Even though it might take them some time to subtract numbers, more practice and repetition are needed. The same word problems can establish a sense of reduction in their minds. Later, practicing sums on worksheets, using the same stick or fingertips method with some modification, can be taught.
Geometry for kindergartners doesn’t mean the use of a compass and protractor. Instead, geometry is just a way to develop their interest in shapes. Learning about shapes like rectangles, squares, circles, and triangles expand their understanding of the world. Learning shapes help in the identification of objects, leading to better visual discrimination. During preschool, children explore 3-dimensional things like balls, houses, prisms, etc., that further aid the understanding of the world. Apart from just helping them use their vision and touch, kindergartners can be taught to practice counting with the vertices and sides of these shapes.
5. Number Sense
Number sense simply means introducing the concept of numbers to a child. It can involve simple things like counting steps from one’s house to the car, counting cherries on a cake, etc. It also includes an introduction to the concept of “What’s bigger .” For instance, 6 or 9, which is the more significant number. Children can be taught the various important aspects of number sense to make the whole learning process simpler and smoother.
Seriation is based on comparison; it can be based on height or diameter. Asking toddlers to arrange sticks or balls based on their height or size is a great way to practice seriation. It is similar to the ascending and descending order they’ll learn in elementary school. Making them practice seriation will enhance their higher-order skills and logical reasoning.
Comparison is a broader mental ability that children learn progressively. It involves conducting a mental evaluation of the differences and similarities between objects. Comparing shapes, sizes, lengths, heights, and other physical characteristics of the thing can help the child categorize the world better.
Kindergartners are ego-centric, i.e., they can focus on a single characteristic at a given time. Ego-centricism is yet another concept given by Piaget that young children can only focus on one aspect of an object. So, with that understanding in mind, starting with single pattern objects can help the child eventually build their mental abilities of identification. Adding polka dots to one thing and keeping one blank can allow the child to exercise their identification abilities fully. As they learn to work with single pattern objects, another level of differentiation can be added (for instance, an object with stripes, one with polka dots, and one blank).
Solving fractions isn’t something a kindergartner can do; however, teaching and making them memorize basic fractions like ½, ¼, and ¾, which are half, one-fourth, and a quarter, can be helpful. Children can also be asked to share their chocolate in half or quarter to have an essential moralistic memory attached to a mathematical concept.
10. Spelling of Numbers
Learning math is essential, but knowing the spelling of numbers is more important, especially for a preschooler. As they need to develop their writing and memorization abilities, learning how to spell numbers will prepare them for the education of elementary years. While learning numbers till 100 are only possible for some preschoolers, parents can ensure that they know to spell numbers till 20 or 50.
Methods to teach mathematical concepts to little learners.
Mathematical concepts can be a bumpy ride for little learners. Hence, explaining and helping them teach these concepts through some strategies and methods can help them manifold. Here are a few techniques to help budding learners thrive on concepts that might look overwhelming initially.
1. Word Problems
Word problems depict real-life scenarios. Using real-life experiences of the child to form such word problems can improve the child’s engagement. Asking the child to count and pick toffees from the store and then, after coming home, asking them to share with others can allow them to engage in a practical problem mathematically. Sometimes, similar past incidents can be used with the child and modified to enhance their understanding and recall.
2. Clay Activities
Clay activities are an absolute hit among young children. They immerse the child entirely and help them apply their creativity. Besides encouraging their creativity, clay activities can aid in their shape identification, manipulation, and creation. They can also learn the difference between 2d and 3d objects with the help of such clay activities.
3. Using daily life objects
Exploring daily objects, such as buckets, fans, tables, and other things, can help them gain an understanding of different objects, their sizes, mass, and weight. Counting can also be practiced with the help of daily life objects.
Abacus is an essential instrument to invest in. Kindergartners and preschoolers can be easily taught addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with the help of an abacus. Parents can make use of various abacus toys as the use of color and beads further enriches the learning process.
5. Playing With Patterns
Playing with patterns becomes fun and educational once the child has learned to discriminate visually. Helping them learn about pattern rules and drawing them would eventually lead to a better understanding of the world and geometry.
Math is not a classroom subject. It is an important life skill most people need to learn to live a stable life. Hence, making it a part of a child’s life as early as toddlerhood will only prepare them for a better academic and professional life. As math isn’t just about numbers, instilling mathematical concepts would help the child become more logical and reasonable with age.