Math during Free Choice Play

Children learn best through hands-on experiences that are child-driven and authentic. Incorporating math exploration into free choice play centers allows children to explore and apply skills in real-life situations. It is also a great way to link new concepts to ones that the students already understand. When the teachers join in the play with students, they can nudge the students understanding forward and move them to incorporating more complex ideas.

Play also allows for children to work and problem solve together. The importance of increasing social development to promote academics is noted in the statement from Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings: NAEYC Position Statement, “Beyond cognitive development, teachers need to be familiar with young children’s social, emotional, and motor development, all of which are relevant to mathematical development.” 

Incorporating Shapes:

shapes

Incorporating Symmetry

symmetry

Incorporating Patterning

patterning

Incorporating Number Sense

number sense

 

Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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