Saturday, January 20, 2018

Math Lessons for your Preschooler at Home

Learning math skills is a progression of skills. In order to grasp the methods used for addition and subtraction - the most basic of mathematics - the child has to understand the relationship between numbers. Here are some games that can be played with preschoolers, as they advance through the skill sets needed to do simple math.

Counting on the Body

Children are born with the tools necessary to do simple math: their fingers. These lessons can begin in infancy, carrying through preschool and into kindergarten, becoming more complicated as skills are mastered. Start with by holding up one finger and saying the number. From there, progress to alternating between the child telling you how many fingers, or holding up fingers to match a number you name.

Number Recognition

While your child is learning to count, you can teach number identification. Make up a set of 10 index cards, each with a number from 1 to 10 printed on it in a large size, and a corresponding number of objects drawn on the back. When your child holds up a specific number of fingers, you show her the picture or number which corresponds. As their knowledge increases, you can simply use the homemade flash cards.

Sorting By Properties

The next step is to learn that similar items can be grouped together. You can use anything for your sets of objects, from clothes to toys or brightly colored pictures. Show your preschooler how items of a particular color or shape look the same, and then ask them to sort them. For example, separate the shoes from the socks.

Sorting By Quantity

Now that your child has learned to separate items by identifying their properties, it is time to count the items in a set. Start with one type of item, slowly adding one item and counting the number of items. Next, sort the items into groups and count the number of, for example, triangles. This teaches more complex counting skills, as well as the concepts of groups, sets, and properties. For example, there are 3 types (groups) of items, and each group contains a set of 4 items, while each item is a different color.

Addition and Subtraction

By recognizing properties and groups, addition and subtraction have been introduced. If there are zero triangles, and you add one, there is one triangle. If you add a second triangle, there are two. If you then add a circle, you have three items. Ask your preschooler which group has more items, and how many items.

With patience and practice, your preschooler will be able to count items, associate the number of items with the number that matches it, and be able to increase or decrease the number of items or even entire sets. They have also learned that items of different properties can be grouped into sets, and math can be performed on an entire set.

The Montessori method believes in teaching children through hands-on, interactive learning activities, such as learning math using objects found at home.  At Montessori Children's House, we work with our preschoolers and their families to further develop their skills both in and our of school.  Contact us today to schedule a tour.

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