Maths is a language

Mastering mathematical concepts from a young age is like learning a language. It is vitally important for children to understand the vocabulary of maths so that they can apply it in different real-life situations.

How can this be done in a fun way?

1. Counting things – Count cars, smarties, sweets, people, lego pieces, steps, knives, forks, bottle tops, beans, shoes-As they get older,  count eyes, ears, fingers, hands, tricycle wheels  in twos, threes, fives and tens e.g  4 tricycles- how many wheels?, 6 people – how many eyes?

2. Give verbal word problems relating to everyday situations. Start with small numbers and simple problems. Move onto multi-step word problems as your child grows in confidence. Eg. Mum needs to buy a yoghurt for each child in the family, for every school day in a week. How many yoghurts must she buy?

3. Use fraction vocabulary – cut cakes, apples, pizzas into halves, quarters and even eighths. Share sweets between children.

4. Measure – Bake often with your child – measure, compare, weigh quantities, Use a balance scale – introduce the concept of equal to, more than, less than. Have a rain-gauge and a thermometer in the garden to measure rainfall and temperature. Keep records on a desk calendar to compare the different month’s rainfall. Keep a height chart. Record height of each sibling each year.

5. Tell the Time – Have a clock on the wall. Refer often to seconds, minute and hour hands, give time constraints e.g  10 minutes to have a bath, discuss days, weeks, months and years on a family calendar

6. Invest in number games that require and develop maths literacy and concepts. (Mr Tickles has a wide variety in Store – see page 10 for details)

7. Use ordinal vocabulary. Create fun family competitions making sure they all have turns to win and lose. The fastest runner, the best-decorated cake, biggest sand castle.

Parents, it is so important that you engage in mathematical language and concrete examples of mathematical concepts with your child on a regular basis so that they become confident in basic mathematical literacy before and after they begin their formal schooling…it is a springboard to developing a love for this wonderful subject.

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