Category Archives: Numeracy

#ArtyMathsFalkirk – Keep Going

 

After another week of celebrating all things Maths as part of Scottish Maths Week, it is important to think about what’s been achieved.

First of all, I want to say a huge WELL DONE and THANK YOU to everyone across Falkirk’s ELC community for showing, once again, that you are on a mission! As a community, you are always keen to support our initiatives and with a gentle spark, you really embrace the opportunity to develop memorable experiences for children.

Photo: Courtesy of Sacred Heart ELC Class via Twitter

What have you learned about the children and and yourselves?

The energy and enthusiasm shown during Maths Week is very special, so we need to make sure that we reflect on what went well and what have we learned. When we know this, we can keep going and keep improving.

This year we asked you to think about where is the Mathematics in Art. In doing so, we wanted to provide you with the opportunity to look closely at children as they play but through the lens of asking: “where’s the Maths?”

Photo: Courtesy of Queen Street ELC Centre via Twitter

In doing this, I am sure you realised that, even over a short window of time, the awesome potential that  young children have to think and behave mathematically, appropriate to their developmental stage, of course. You will have, I’m sure, noticed children being highly competent in their knowledge of a broad range of essential foundational mathematical concepts.

In using Art as a context, you’ve also been give a reminder that foundations of Maths is more than numerals and counting. Counting is vitally important and we need to make sure we find lots of natural ways, relevant to children, to support them to recognise numbers and count objects. Absolutely.

“Numeracy is not just about being able to count. It is about developing number sense which encourages creativity of thought and it allows children to interact with the world around them”. Realising the Ambition, page 74

But, let’s not forget that for children to develop reasoning skills, essential for the mathematical brain to develop, we must support a range of other essential concepts: Matching. Sorting. Grouping. Categorising. Time. Pattern. Shape. Measure. Movement.

Photo: Courtesy of Wellside Kingergarten via Twitter

So, what next?

You mustn’t lose what you’ve started.

Now that you know what children are capable of, you must keep looking for the Maths within the rich experiences you are offering to children.

Think: how am I seeing the child thinking and behaving mathematically?

Make sure children get the credit for what they know and can do.

After maths week, I am sure children’s profiles will be full of rich observations with numeracy and mathematics featuring prominently. But, for progress to be maintained, you have to keep looking and noting as children play: What maths am I seeing now? What is new? What is different? What is important? What is surprising?

Support and Guidance
This is a good time to remind you all about the excellent resource from Education Scotland. You can find the materials on the National improvement Hub here.

Please take time to read the Guidance Document first of all. It’s only 8 pages long but it talks specifically about Early Level and the important connections with Realising the Ambition.

The other materials, for each of the key areas of Numeracy and Maths within the curriculum, have an Early Level section. I am delighted to say that there is an explicit and very helpful focus on play pedagogy and in keeping with Realising the Ambition.

You can also take a look on Twitter at the fabulous learning throughout Maths Week in Falkirk by clicking the links below:

#ArtyMathsFalkirk
#ELCArtyMaths

 

 

 

 

Arty Maths – Maths Week Scotland – 28 September

 

It’s Maths Week Scotland next week.

Excited much?????

I’ve always thought about maths and art being connected. Why? Because both disciplines are about noticing and appreciating the world around us.

 

As human beings we are drawn to things. Sometimes we don’t know why. It’s intuitive or natural. We like something because it has an appeal. In our mind’s eye it is beautiful. Often the reason for our appreciation lies in its order, symmetry, colour, shape even its movement. All of which are basic, natural, mathematical concepts.

 

 

 

Babies, toddlers and young children haven’t yet learned about the properties of shapes or the names of colours, maybe. However, they do naturally distinguish for characteristics in the way they sort or collect things around them.

Matching, sorting and grouping are essential foundational mathematical skills. It is important that we are not tempted to ‘schoolify’ this behaviour too early but rather that we provide children the opportunity to be challenged by objects and watch how they use them.

Back to art. The visual arts (drawing, painting, collage, modelling) are offered everyday in every ELC in the land. But, have you considered the contribution to children’s mathematical thinking that such experiences offer?

I think it is important to think about the visual elements of Art when thinking about the sorts of experiences children should have. When you see the elements, you will quickly recognise the connection with Mathematics.

The visual elements of art are:

  • Line
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Pattern
  • Form
  • Tone

Environment

  • Thinking of your Creation Stations, have you organised the materials in a certain way to help children make choices on the basis of lines or shapes or colours?
  • In this example, materials are organised in colours but also there is thought to strips of papers, so that children can think about lines.

 

  • Have you thought about giving children different shape of paper to paint or collage on? Think about what children would learn about a triangle if they had to make decisions about what tiny marks they needed to make in the angles?
  • What about different sizes of paper and different painting tools for that size. The mathematical language that will develop will impress and astound you.

3D Modelling

So, 3D modelling is basically a mathematical/STEM experience as well as an arty one!

  • How are the materials organised in your playroom or in the outdoors? Are they all jumbled around? You might want to think about categories to help children make decisions on the basis of shape or colour or function. For example:
    • A box for objects that roll
    • A box for objects that ‘don’t roll’
    • A box for ‘see through’ or transparent objects
    • A box for ‘very small’ objects
    • A box for ‘flat’ objects
    • And on and on and on…….

Clay, Blocks and Wood

Form and pattern are visual elements of art but they are also mathematical concepts that are explored and discovered by children as they design with  clay and blocks and wood. I don’t need to say anymore about this here. Go to our wonderful Froebel in Falkirk menu in the blog for all you need to know.

You will have so many more ideas but hopefully Maths Week Scotland will give the opportunity to notice the maths in the art, to observe closely how children are thinking and behaving mathematically.

I am so excited about #ArtyMaths week in Falkirk. I know that, as always, ELC is going to embrace this opportunity to support children’s progress and to help families understand how their young child’s mathematical brain is developing.

Please do as you always do…..share and tweet. Please tag-in @FCEYTeam @NumHubChamp @FCLisaMcCabe using #ELCArtyMathsWeek #MathsWeekScot
Well done and thank you!

Lisa

Continue reading Arty Maths – Maths Week Scotland – 28 September

Block Play – Block Building in the Early Years

** This learning resource is available on the National Improvement Hub
In Falkirk we can use this resource to support reflective practice and to challenge our thinking as to what makes effective learning environments for the promotion of creativity, curiosity and inquiry; and to identify next steps.
How to use this Learning and assessment resource to improve practice?

The resource can be used by individuals and groups of practitioners to support professional learning to develop understanding and support practice in relation to block play.

Links have been made throughout to theories of early learning that support the importance of block play. Links to further reading have been provided to deepen knowledge and understanding.

The resource outlines the different stages of block play and how this relates to children’s development and learning

 

https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/elc27-block-play.pptx

 

 

 

 

Loose Parts Play

The Early Years Curriculum team are aware that many of Falkirk’s EYC settings have been or currently are focusing on developing their use loose parts as part of their provision. Inspiring Scotland have produced a toolkit which we would encourage practitioners within these settings to use to reflect on their provision of loose parts play. The Loose Parts Play toolkit was produced to support people working with children and young people across all age ranges and settings. It aims:
• To raise awareness of the value of loose parts to children’s play
• To provide practical guidance about loose parts play to those who work with children and young people of all ages
• To advocate the use of loose parts as an approach to developing play opportunities at home, school and in the community.

 

https://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Loose-Parts-Play-web.pdf