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Keith's Corner: Entry 13: Maths and pre-school

In his thirteenth diary entry, Keith’s young learners explore the theme of maths by looking at clocks, nature and apples!

We did a diary recently on Anglia School toddlers and maths. This month, we are looking at maths with our preschoolers.

Counting big numbers

We often engage our preschoolers in counting up to and back from big numbers, as you can see in this ‘Count-up’ clip. The theme at the time was Places to Live, and so the kids had exactly ten minutes to build a stable building using only recycled milk cartons as bricks. Working in a team is always fun and this handy interactive clock was used for reference. At the end of their countdown – destruction!! A song about big numbers that is always enjoyed by our preschoolers is The Big Numbers Song. We also have a wonderful collection of lots and lots of numbered penguins that have to be counted, sequenced, knocked down and rebuilt.

Maths all around us

We are lucky to have a wonderful park in very close proximity to our school. This is where we take the kids when the weather is just right with prepared activities for exploration time.

The park is good for when we are pirates and just as good for when we are natural scientists. During the summer, we had a Bugs topic. Each pupil had to find and collect five different insects and five different pieces of wildlife (e.g., leaves, twigs, pebbles), which were later carefully inspected using our magnifying glasses and measured in size. Preschoolers learn to measure using anything they have available, such as their hands!

Measuring maths and shapes

Measuring also comes into use when preparing for an experiment. Our kids are very keen to get involved in experiments, so whether it is filling up cups and tablespoons or plastic bowls with litre markings on the side, there is a chorus of maths in the air to do with shapes, sizes and numbers. An example of a shapes song favourite is this one. All measurements are routinely graphed as information is shared in a measuring project.

Apple maths

The kids in our Afternoon Group (1pm-5pm, Monday to Fridays) naturally get more advanced material than our Toddlers, as they are aged 4½ to 7.

They routinely do adding and subtraction activities and do lots of shapes games. One of the staple activities we have regarding counting games with Preschoolers is done during Snack Time. This is our Counting Apple Seeds Game – a game our pupils have turned into an Anglia School tradition! We have to thank five-year-old Laura for this as she always brings an apple for snack time.

Laura – “Can you cut my apple, please?”

This inspired other kids to also bring apples and/or other fruit, and start using the same phrase. Our teachers, Nadia and Sonya, while carrying out Laura’s polite request one day, nonchalantly began counting the apple seeds. It was then, prompted by the teachers, that this turned into a fun contest for the kids, where they would predict how many seeds were in Laura’s apple (“I think fifteen!”, “I think thirty!”, etc.)

Immersive maths language

This is also a good example of the immersive environment we create for our pupils. Phrases and words are learned not after they are copied countlessly in notebooks, but because that is how we do stuff in English. Maths is everywhere in song, craft, dance, nature, food! And so far, the results have been tremendous!

And so today, surely enough, during snack time, we will be predicting how many seeds are in Laura’s apple, Dara’s apple, Magi’s apple, Mitko’s apple …

Happy crunching!

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