What is early maths?
I don’t think I will be speaking out of turn when I say for many of our practitioners the concept of maths provision for some of our youngest Little Stars is hard to feel you accomplish, as they are not ready yet to count or to talk even? And yet if you watch our youngest play, they encounter and use mathematical ideas all the time. Collecting the egg chalks back into the box last week, 2 year olds pointed to the empty gaps, knowing that there was not a full amount (that’s maths); two children independently shared out cars between their baskets (that’s maths). It’s not complicated and it definitely isn’t dependent on talking or a worksheet!
The Autumn term was a challenging one for many of our youngest children, both those returning after a long period of being out of the nursery environment, and especially for our new little ones, for whom being away from their parents was particularly hard after being with them at home exclusively over the first lockdown. However, due to the care and dedication of all of our Rising Star staff, they are full of cuddles, love and reassurance and are now settled and ready to tackle all of the wonder that is the Little Star experience!
And part of that experience is very much finding their own fascinations with the outside world, and to that extent our Rising Stars have been having a lot of time both in the garden and further afield off site where they have been allowed to explore puddles, ice and plenty of mud! Whilst much of the larger garden is designed to test the skills of some of our older children as they build and construct with planks, crates etc. this doesn’t stop our younger children also testing their skills in balancing and climbing. Having an outside area that has bumps, holes and uneven surfaces is really important for the youngest of children as they are literally “feeling their feet” and managing to negotiate space. You don’t need a mountain to climb in order to reach your own summit!
As well as obviously being fun, cooking is an activity that brings all manner of different learning and skills to the children. Using utensils such as knives and graters develop fine motor skills, mathematics is used in measurements, literacy as they read recipes and grow an understanding that text carries meaning, as well as learning about different foods, sharing and working as a team. The Rising Stars produced culinary delights in their focused cooking week: from cheesy bread rolls to chocolate cookies.
Learning through story
Whatever the child’s age, stories are a powerful means to learn and have fun. The Rising Stars have been bringing the traditional tale of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears to life by telling it in many ways: with props, words and actions. They are introduced to the ‘rule of 3′ as well as comparison of sizes as Goldilocks makes her way through the bowls, choirs and beds. They have also been led on a sensory journey, using oats and making their own porridge.