Mathematics

Two children working with wood

Why introduce woodwork in the early years?

“We have seen how working with real tools offers children new experiences and encompasses all areas of learning,” writes early years creative consultant Pete Moorhouse. “Woodwork allows children to become the innovators, makers, sculptors, tinkerers, engineers and architects of tomorrow. The experience of working with wood and tools leaves deep memories and becomes a part of children’s DNA.”

Working with wood can play a central role in your curriculum, supporting maths, physical coordination, creative skills, understanding of the world, language and vocabulary. Read Pete’s article and find out about his new on-line training course here.

Boys making nature patterns

Maths play with natural loose parts

We are approaching the time of year in which nature generously replenishes its available loose parts. Leaves fall, acorns drop, seed pods form, and there is no end to the natural materials you can collect just in your garden.

“One area of early learning particularly suited for the use of these materials is maths,” writes Dorie Ranheim. “There is a myriad of questions that can be asked to guide children’s thinking. For example, What did we find the most of? Tell me about your stick. Can you find something longer? Which rock is heavier? Through these playful interactions, rich maths language flows and becomes part of the child’s vocabulary.

“You can also use loose parts to model mathematical skills like how to count acorns using one-to-one correspondence, how to create a pattern with autumn leaves, or how to measure by comparing two feathers. All of the foundational areas of early maths can be explored in a playful way using natural loose parts.” More ideas here.

two children playing with unit blocks

An interview with Daniel Spry

Blocks are one of very few resources that allow children to work in all areas of learning at once. They encourage creativity and allow kids to turn problems over, not only with their minds, but also with their hands.
Some months before the Covid-19 pandemic began, we interviewed Early Years Consultant Daniel Spry, who has delivered block play trainings nationally and internationally for many years. Here's the interview.
 
young child enjoying pretend play with mud

Encouraging mud play

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty.The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families.This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles.Then, let the fun begin! Read this.

little girls playing with blocks

Learning through block play

Everyone knows that playing with blocks is essential to learning (and loads of fun, even for grown-ups). But what exactly do children learn as they line the blocks up, stack them, plan and build and bash them over? Harriet K. Cuffaro has some great insights into the value of block play. Read them.

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