Math All Around
For young children math is all around them; it is in the counting of their Cheerios while eating breakfast, the noticing of patterns in their clothing, learning the language of math and measurement while baking cookies, playing a board game with a sibling, and “I spying” shapes in the environment while going on a nature walk. Young children are, by nature, curious about math. When children practice the foundational skills, such as number sense, geometry, measurement and spatial relations in a hands-on approach, it allows them to make meaningful connections with math in an authentic way.
In the Miquon Nursery, the learners have been exploring math in a variety of authentic ways, both inside and outside of the classroom. They explored geometry while following the styles of artists Piet Mondrian and Henri Matisse. We discover math upon closer examination and comparison between literature, both in the text and also the illustrations. We have taken our mathematicians outdoors to look closer at the patterns and shapes in nature. By providing manipulatives such as loose parts as well as Cuisenaire rods, unifix cubes, tangrams and counting bears, we invite our learners to explore math in an open-ended format and hands-on approach. Asking questions such as, “What do these objects in this group have in common? How did you discover that? I see a pattern, do you?,” provides students to examine their work and play and to challenge them to use critical thinking.
Throughout the year, math will be woven throughout the students’ inquiries, interests and curiosities. In their everyday play, investigation and wonder, we provide them with challenging yet fun ways to explore math. Uninterrupted, self-guided explorations as well as teacher-directed inquiries will provide them with the opportunity to identify as mathematicians and gain a deeper understanding of their math skills.