Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Empowering learning through play

Research suggests early maths skills are a more accurate indicator of later academic success that early reading skills
There is a concern that some children are receiving formal learning too early, which does not prepare them.  Research clearly shows children need to problem solve based on their intuitive interests and fascinations
       The adult role
       Scaffold to support independent problem solving
       Add materials to sustain further interest
       Generate new ideas
       Listen to child’s process of investigation
       Support investigation through the child’s lens

What can you tell me about this shape?
How do you know it’s a face?
How do you know this shape is not a square?
I’m thinking of a shape. It has 3 corners. Can you see the shape I might be thinking of?
What is the same / different about  the two cloud shapes?
The difference between knowing and understanding, is a child may know that 2+2 = 4 but may not understand why this is true

The child may know the shape is called a circle or triangle, this suggests nothing about their understanding of the shape and its properties
Children may naturally demonstrate their intuitive knowledge about maths in the process of play, but proficiency emerges as the teacher observes and finds ways to make the children’s investigations more meaningful.
Thoughtful adding ( or sensitive replacement) of materials allow children to construct understanding about shapes in relation to space

When the pattern cards were removed, children were free to investigate their own pattern making
       Staff used these opportunities to add resources such as tape measures, writing materials and money to support the maths. 
       Staff listened to the children and supported their process of investigation
       Adding resources
       Children brought in their own fascinating objects from home and outside
       They decided to use egg boxes to measure the whole room, and then filled them with playdoh chocolates to sell in their shop
       Graph paper, assorted sized paper & fabrics added to art/craft
       Tracing and counting the number of squares
       Adding stop watches to water/guttering
       Menus with prices, calendars & clocks, recipes in role play
       Dice, sandpaper numbers, clipboards everywhere
       Numbers on shelves
       Is maths learning restricted to one core knowledge area?  Or do children learn better when they can make make mathematical connections within all other learning areas?
       Does a play-based/inquiry based approach support inclusive practice?
       For maths to be successful do children need to feel confidence in risk taking and problem solving?
       Does exploration provide a safe context to explore concrete meaning?
       Do positive attitudes and a motivated disposition support persistence?
       How could you empower your children’s developing mathematical minds?
       How important are learning styles, reflective inquiry, responsive interactions, thoughtfully planned environments & content based on children’s fascinations?
       Does scaffolding support highly developed concepts and skills based on children/s intuitive mathematical knowledge?
       How do your routines support mathematical concepts

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


Children are continually searching for meaning
Resources that promote awe and wonder are provocations for learning

Give children magic moments that they will remember 

  • Hold a mirror under a tree and talk about what you can see above 
  • Provide a basket of loose parts
  • Catch rain drops in a bowl and add baby oil and a few drops of paint
  • Grow potatoes in a plastic sack and watch them grow, then dig them up and cook them
  • Use a magnifying glass to observe patterns in leaves, feathers and shells
  • Find a big accessible puddle, or make one, add glitter, oil and paint colour or food colour and stir with a stick
  • Use sticks to stir a muddy puddle
  • Make some crepe paper streamers and fly in the wind
Children are naturally in the here and now
For children under 7 it is important to just observe the world 
Children don't need to understand concepts yet, they need to appreciate the fascinations around them
They have a natural desire to be inquisitive

'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away'

Learn Maths and Science outdoors  .....  fun workshops for practitioners ... inspirational ideas.           Margaret Travers @ Crayongeneration.