Why is mathematical thinking so important?
Mathematics refers to a wide range of skills and concepts relating to numbers, patterns, measurement and shapes.
- Mathematical thinking is essential for everyday things in our lives.
- By developing early mathematical skills with your child you establish building blocks for lifelong learning.
- Mathematical development will set them up for success at school.
‘Early exposure to foundational numeracy has been shown to provide the critical building blocks for future exploration of mathematical concepts.’ Rebekah O’Flaherty
Benefits to you and your child
- Having a good grasp on foundational mathematical skills builds confidence in your child.
- It makes them eager to learn other things.
- It prepares them for formal learning.
Good Mathematical Skills to have before Prep
- Number sense and interest in numbers
- Basic counting and understanding of why it is useful
- Sorting, patterning and arranging
- Basic problem solving skills
- Awareness of shape
- Symbols and signs
How to encourage mathematical learning at home.
This is a list of practical things to do with your child. Some of them are possibly things you do or know already but our goal is that this inspires you to make numeracy learning a part of your everyday lives.
Things to do with your children
- Use numeracy rich language in everyday conversations ‘you can choose 3 books to read before bed’, ‘that boy is taller than that girl’ ‘it is 4pm now, we can go to the park’.
- Use comparative language such as;
- taller and shorter
- more and less
- big and little
- Have a clock in your living area, make reference to it, ‘When the hand is on the 10 we can have morning tea.
- Model counting with your child. Have them count out the apples into the bag when you are grocery shopping.
- Count as you walk; up and down stairs, count the letterboxes along the road etc.
- Give your child a tape measure, a ruler etc.
- Let your child handle money, your family may choose to give pocket money or birthday money. Allow children to pay for items at the shops when appropriate.
- Watch and play sports together. Talk about how many players, what the score is, who is winning.
- Play board games and games which involve matching.
- Do lots of puzzles! Borrow puzzles from a friend or a toy library.
- Cook and bake with your child, help them read the numbers in recipes and measure out ingredients.
- Read counting books together.
- Talk about time and distance when driving.
- Let your child play with blocks and Lego.
- Talk about colours.
- Use food as an opportunity to use mathematical language. ‘half an apple’, ’2 more bites’ ‘there are 8 pieces of pizza’.
- Sing mathematical songs and finger rhymes
- Five little ducks
- 3 cheeky monkey
- Give your child measuring toys for playing with in the bath or in a water trough.
- Use positional language to describe where objects are (in front of, behind, on top etc.)
- Count in front of your child, talk about how many things you need to buy at the shops.
- Let your child see you play board games.
- Show your child when you are using a calculator or using maps, explain to them what you are doing.
- Show your child when you are measuring something.
- Let your child see you using cash, explain to them that there is still money involved when you use card to pay for something.
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