Developing Children’s (3-8 years) Mathematical Skills
There are different national frameworks and policies that are used for the development of mathematical learning from 3 to 8 years old.
One of these is the Childcare Act 2006. The Childcare Act is an update on the Children Act 2004. It basically makes sure that local authorities reduce any inequalities in their individual areas by providing an ‘integrated’ service for children and their families. They make it so that each local area has the appropriate provision to help the care and learning of all children aged 3 or 4, and a free minimum amount of provision should be available. Parents have a right to obtain information for their child, and Section 12 of the Act emphasises the new extended age range which is now up to the age of 20. The Act also includes announces the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). This information is found in the Act between Sections 39-48. It explains how the new EYFS supports the integrated provision for children from birth to five years old and also makes reference to the modified Ofsted Childcare Register standards.
EYFS is another example of this. The EYFS principles help guide the work of all practitioners. They are grouped into 4 different themes, these themes are, A Unique Child, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments and Learning and Development. * A Unique Child acknowledges that every child is a competent learner from birth. * Positive Relationships explains how children learn to be strong and independent from having loving and secure relationships with parents or key person. * Enabling Environments describes how the environment plays a key role in supporting and helping children’s development and learning. * Learning and Development identifies that children develop and learn in different ways and in different rates.
Between the ages of 3 and 8 years there are many different areas of mathematical development.
One of these areas is counting. Counting can be included into almost any activity to do with children. At first children will learn to count in numerical order, but eventually will learn to count in twos, threes and more as their skills and learning develop.
Another of these areas of mathematical development is working with Measures, Shapes and Space. The Marian Beaver Childcare book states, Measurements contain length, width, weight, height and distance. They can involve people, plants, toys, etc., and also distances walked, jumped, etc., or measurements of fixed items such as furniture, size of carpet area, playground and so on. Weighing can be of people, cooking ingredients, or simply small items being weighed against each other for children to estimate how many? How many more? (pg. 405, Cache Level 3 Childcare and Education)
Another of these areas is sorting and matching. Sorting and matching could be done with just about anything, for example just getting some resources like Lego bricks and have the children sort them into colours, size or type of brick. This is something that can become an activity quite easily by just having a load of different types of resources available, for example, different crayons, pencils, rubbers, clothes pegs, counters, etc…
Another of these areas is calculation and use of calculators. This can be done through mental maths, or through a physical activity. Calculations can also be made by using different resources such as counters, tiles, bricks, etc., and these can help children to add and subtract or to count in 2,3, 4’s etc. Calculators are not likely to be introduced to children until year 4 so before that mental maths or physically counting things is more commonly used.
The first activity that can help children develop their understanding in different areas of mathematical development is; Water play with different sized beakers. The age range for this activity could be between 2-3 years old since the activity is...