Introducing basic mathematical skills to our youngest children at Bixby Preschool is always exciting! I try to create learning experiences, which are enticing and engaging. In addition to counting together, children have opportunities to explore patterns, weights, beats and rhythm. By following this method, the written and spoken numbers become concrete experiences for the students.
While exploring our pattern cards, one boy sifted through all the different cards to find one that only had blue bears on them. He then found the correct bear size to match the size of the bear on the card. In this situation he was displaying his ability to categorize objects.
Once he was finished, he began to help the child next to him, by finding the bears she needed on her pattern card for her. Sometimes she accepted his help and worked independently at other times. They finished their work by playfully dropping the bears back into the bear container one bear at a time.
It is important to maintain a balance of focus and play for young children. Our 2 and 3 year old students can often be seen doing a variety of activities during their group time such as; running, jumping, pattern work, playing a rhythm on a drum, or drawing with a race car around and through a number track. All of these things meet their needs and keep them engaged in their learning!