Thursday, 2 October 2014

Work like a captain and play like a pirate!

'Shiver me timers' - there has been an abundance of pirate play and 'booty' (treasure) in pre-school this week.  The children have really got into character and become buccaneers to set sail on the seven seas in their boats and pirate ship.  They have had to work hard like captains to hoist the sail and share the outfits and gold coins.  Luckily the 'seadogs' (staff) were not made to 'walk the plank' just the 'scallywag' toy pirates on the wooden pirate ship in the small world tray (phew!)

'Not all treasure is silver and gold'

The treasure for staff has been seeing how much mathematical learning has been going on through the children's play!  Both on the maths island (table) but also during their play, 'I have two pirates' and 'we need 4 coins, 1,2,3,4'

To many adults, the word maths and play have nothing to do with each other.  For others maths was a torture, something we had to do, and something we didn't understand and couldn't do. Play on the other hand was something we loved.  What's more fun playing with your child, knowing that as you play 'shops', sort the washing together or take a walk in the woods you can be teaching your child maths without either of you eve realising?!  

Children have carried out some floating and sinking experiments this week.  Using mathematical language such as 'heavy' and 'light' they had to guess if each object would float or sink before they put it in the water.  Then afterwards they had to say if they were correct or incorrect and asked if they knew why. 

Matching quantity to numerals was also explored as part of our mathematics problems this week.  At Brambles we have some lovely pebbles with numbers on them and asked the children to find items that the children were able to access from around the classroom.

Number songs and rhymes relating to pirates also supported maths as the children stood up to be 5 Pirates subtraction song  and they had to remember the numbers for The day I went to sea pirate song 

EYFS Links. 
'Play is an effective vehicle for fostering Mathematical concepts and developing positive attitudes to mathematics' (Curricular Guidance for Pre-School Education) When we say a child 'knows their numbers' what we often mean is that she can recite the name of the numbers in ascending order.  This is quite useful to be able to do, but it means very little in itself.  Children need to come to know what the number system really means.  They can be helped to do this through play.  One of the first things they have to learn is about conversation - that 3 is always 3 no matter how it is arranged or presented, whether it is the number 3, the letters for three, 3 bricks, 3 buttons on a coat or 3 Billy Goats Gruff.  Before a child can understand numbers for things that can be seen - 3 miles, 3 years old and so on, they need real objects that can be seen and handled with a chance to check the count is right each time.

Young children have many mathematical experiences in their home environment.  For example:

  • they learn about money as they go shopping with you
  • become aware of numbers as they count the stairs
  • notice numbers on doors or wheelie bins
  • start to understand the concept of time as they become familiar with the routine of their day
A child's daily life offers many practical opportunities to learn about number, shape, space, sorting and matching. For instance:
  • setting the table: plate in front of the cup, cutlery at the side of the plate, napkins on the table
  • playing with water in the bath: heavy, light, empty, full, big and little 
  • steering a pram or wheeled vehicle: shape of the wheels, turning left and right, push, pull
  • helping to sort the washing: matching socks, big shirt, small shirt
  • tidying up - putting similar items together, counting the cars/trains as they go in the box, matching lids to containers

'Argh me hearties' what can we see when we look through the telescope?
There is land ahead, a barn oh and horses too!  I wonder what rootin' tootin' things we shall be exploring with Bubba, Little Charley Bear and Miss Sallie?

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