Balancing intentional and spontaneous learning for our youngest learners

Posted by Stacey Wallis on

In my role as an early childhood teacher I have often heard about children (especially boys) who are not ready for formal learning when they turn five and are considered “ready for school.” This is where the curriculum provided in Early Childhood can assist some of our smallest learners by laying the groundwork for learning in the early years.

This idea is by no means linked to theory but is rather my personal approach to this idea when my own two-year-old recently developed a huge interest in numbers and mathematical concepts…

When I noticed my son asking me more and more questions about the numbers that he was seeing and hearing around him I could have easily jumped in and started a full-on mathematical learning tangent this is some of what we did instead.

  • We answered all his questions and waited for his follow up questions.
  • We found opportunities to show him visual representations of numbers either as numerals or by representing them on our fingers whenever possible.
  • We used the correct terms for the areas that he was exploring and supported his efforts with counting.
  • We talked about time, when things were happening as part of our daily routines.
  • We gave him open ended resources and toys that he could use in his mathematical exploration.

He has blown us away! While this learning does not mean that he will be mathematically gifted or have a love of numbers forever it has given us a great opportunity to develop an area of interest for him right now and show him that this type of learning can be fun. His love of the numbers on the clock and the time has also meant that he has started creating his own clocks using other items that he can see. It is really hard not to be excited by this!

- Written by Amy Nancarrow, mother to two busy young boys and centre manager at an early childhood centre.

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