Monday, January 24, 2011

Number cards

I believe in teaching numbers naturally, unhurriedly and only when Q asks about them. She has begun to notice numbers in environmental print (on signs, on food containers, in restaurants, etc.). She started trying to call them letters (ie: she was calling 4 "Alie's letter"). We gently tell her, "that's the number 4." Research shows that children do not begin to understand the abstract concepts of number and quantity and that numerals represent quantities until they start nearing 5-6 years old. This doesn't mean we can't begin to start laying the foundation for some of these ideas, but it DOES mean that if we force number concepts and counting too much, they are simply memorizing it and not truly processing it.

So....we do count items when Q wants to. If she asks for crackers, I respond, "how many?" and count them out to her. She likes to count her crayons (not correctly, of course), and we count the number of friends present in circle time each day. I typically only introduce counting with toddlers when the numbers are paired with actual objects or actions--ie: we don't just say the numbers by themselves or just "count" without objects present.

That being said, I did pull out these number cards. Mostly for the puzzle factor of them and the matching concept (which is a print awareness skill). Q has noticed the numbers on them herself and likes me to tell her what the number name is. She knows numbers by who they belong to--just like she has learned letters. 2 is her number, because she's 2. 3 is her friend A's number. 5 is her friend S's number....etc,. Alie's number is 7 and Beaux's number is 6. We won't go into what Mommy's number is. :)

Also...these cards cost .49 at the Salvation Army for the whole box! I was psyched, as there are all sorts of possibilities for them. Right now we put together the puzzles and count the objects. You can see they lend themselves to properties of numbers and addition (2 and 8 cupcakes equal 10).....

For more info on young children and math, I'd strongly recommend any of Juanita V. Copley's books--primarily The Young Child and Mathematics. Her work and understanding of how children develop mathematically is amazing....
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