Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Playfully becoming the Mathematicians of tomorrow


Tuesday 18 October 2016

It's that time of the year again… Maths Week has arrived. Last year, Maths Week Ireland engaged well over a quarter of a million people. What an accomplishment! Children from all corners of Ireland celebrated their passion for learning maths. As early year educators we all know that it is not a time to sit children down and formally ‘teach’ them maths, but that’s not to say for a second that children’s mathematical minds are not flourishing rapidly throughout their daily play. Mathematical concepts are experimented with and explored by children or even babies at a level so deep during play that it becomes more than merely learning a subject. It becomes a meaningful relationship that will in turn impact on their future learning of all things mathematical.


Below we see children rolling tyres - would flashcards with a circle on it have the same learning for those boys as rolling a tyre? This photo alone demonstrates many concepts such as shapes, rolling, speed, accuracy and even figuring out the equation of movements that need to be managed in order to roll the tyre and get results. The children in the other photograph are naturally forming a line and using all the muscles in their bodies not to fall off, gaining again a meaningful understanding of balance. Learning happens as much in the body as it does in the head. These children are developing a strong embodied sense of maths and without this embodied sense, maths in the head would never make sense. The body is where their intuitive sense of mathematical concepts comes from and this is why active play is the really important. Isn’t it wonderful to think that these children choose this play and that the process of learning maths can come so naturally when children are afforded the time, space and freedom to make their own meaningful choices to play.


Our role as the educators or parents is to truly know our place in the children’s play and celebrate it. If rich play is taking place, let the children get on with it and try not to interrupt or question it as it may be just reaching the most powerful part. You can say what you see in the moment (“look at those lovely parallel lines that you’re drawing’’) or you can talk to them later about it. They may not know it but they could just be about to gain a true understanding of huge concepts such as parallel lines, volumes and weights, or what happens when an equation pans out and a result is found (see photos below).


Play happens day by day in early childhood services. We have all witnessed babies exploring their voices by demonstrating varying pitches or their inborn, natural sense of rhythm. We have all witnessed children playing shop and expressing their mathematical lingo/language in conversations about costs, money, sorting and quantities. These are all everyday occurrences in the early years - magical moments! These are all provided through a recipe of a freedom to play and explore mixed nicely with the children’s inquisitive nature that lays the foundations so discreetly for our future mathematicians.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Buddies(1) Decision Making(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Maynooth(1) Kindness(1) bloom app(1) eating(1) Intention(1) play stories(2) Educators(2) dining experiences(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) emotional well-being(1) Early Years Education(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) child-centred approach(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Teamwork(1) Glitter(2) Empathy(1) CPD(1) Pen green(1) Reading Time(2) Hand Hygiene(2) Technology(3) refugees(1) Settling in(4) INTO(1) listen(1) journey(1) Titles(1) Investment(2) child safeguarding(1) IGL(1) Recycle(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) United Nations(1) Early Years Educators(3) Storytelling(8) Names(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Blocks(1) MECPI(1) Cognitive development(1) Digital Devices(1) Positivity(1) Map(1) Visitors(1) Children's Research Network(2) Breathing(2) preschool settings(1) Games(2) outdoors(4) Care-giving routines(1) Builders(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Book Club(2) Super Shed Stories(2) Mantra(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) UNICEF report(1) National Holiday(1) Mealtimes(1) Exploratory Play(1) Wrapping paper(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Summer(2) Workplace Relations(3) Engineers Week(2) Celebrate(1) overhear(1) Learning Story(1) Children and families(2) Italy(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) children’s learning(1) Eritrea(1) creche(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) reading(6) grandchild(1) upskilling(1) risky play(2) HR(1) ECCE(7) education system(1) World book day(1) food(1) early life(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) UNCRC(2) Drawing(2) Celebrations(4) Arithmetic(1) Human Resources(1) Valentine's Day(3) Learning Stories Award(3) STEAM(1) Yoga(1) Snack Time(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Whole Group(1) Affordability(1) Santa(2) Self-regulation(1) Nordic model(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Interaction(1) Employee(1) Plants(1) Queues(1) Staff Motivation(1) Unesco(1) Orla Kenny(1) Decisions(1) National Awards 2018(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) EM Standing(1) Norway(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Rituals(1) Margy Whalley(1) School Age Childcare(2) friendships(1) GDPR(1) Grief(1) Love(3) Effect of Lockdown(1) social media policy(1) Dance(1) documentation(4) Skillnet(1) Mixed age groups(3) World Health Organisation(1) story time(2) experience(1) parents(7) Elders(1) Seanchaí(1) Home Corner(1) Academics(1) Trigonometry(1) Iceland(2) Competent(1) Primary School(3) Inclusion(3) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Wilenski(1) Appreciation(1) New Appointments(1) Self-Esteem(1) environments(1) collaboration(1) PIP(1) The Lullaby Book(1) conversations(1) Snacks(1) The Jelly King(1) gender bias(1) Traditions(2) Sweets(1) Recycling(2) research(8) International Narratives(1) Certificate(1) Time(1) Cork(1) Small World Play(1) Universal Design(2) educarer(1) learning(19) Kilkenny(1) Community involvement(1) Consent(1) Building Resilience(1) Trade Unions(1) Budget 2019(2) Women(1) primary education(1) Loving Relationships(2) risk(2) Infection Control(1) early childhood educator(2) Maynooth University(2) under 3's(3) ECEC Setting(2) Digital(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) iOS(1) SPICE Framework(1) UK(1) EECERA(1) relationships(18) Scéalta Blog(106) Participation(2) Mayo(1) Workforce(1) Event Guide(1) Maths(6) Buddy Bench(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Pedagogy(2) Child Care(1) play(37) Aldo Fortunati(4) baby room(1) Book Review(1) Pretend Play(1) Wonder(1) lockdown(1) Exercise(1) Our Little Seed(1) multi-generational community(1) Prexit(1) Sessional service(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) preschools(1) Identity(5) Youtube Series(1) Research Seminar(1) Party(1) Performing(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) budget(1) movement behaviours(1) Exploring(1) Inspections(1) Scents(1) Trade union(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) First 5(1) Arlene Forster(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) responsive relationships(1) Interactions(3) behavioural science(1) Iraq(1) Sustainable(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) learners(1) Line-ups(1) reopening ireland(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) educating(1) racism(1) Meal time(1) Brain(1) Interests(1) bonds(1) natural environment(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Large Doll Play(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Online(1) show and tell(1) quarantine kids(1) Quality(4) Inspirational(2) Budget 2020(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Shoes(1) Adoption(1) Leargas(1) Kerry(1) Syria(1) Your place(1) Creative(1) Stress(2) ECEC(4) partnership(1) worldbookday(1) dining(1) Craft(1) Fantasy play(1) aistear blog(3) Aistear(132) babies(7) Halloween(2) planning(1) Montessori(3) Playschool(1) Touch(1) GoToMeeting app(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Obesity(1) Síolta QAP(1) Maths Week(1) Learning Stories(9) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) CIT(1) continual professional development(1) preschool(4) staying connected(1) Awards Night(1) Environment(2) NCCA(4) Confident(1) Mental Health(4) childcare services(1) Wendy Lee(4) animals(2) structure(1) Thank you(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Meet the Members(1) Mud kitchens(1) ELC(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Little Buddies(1) Running(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Childhood(2) outdoor environment(1) learning bias(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Shapes(2) outdoor play(7) phone apps(1) Capable(1) stories(3) blog(56) pablo(1) learning hub(2) guardian(1) Fire Safety(1) annual awards(1) purpose(1) QRF(1) annual conference(1) DES Inspection(1) Care routines(1) Arts(1) Síolta(139) Masterclass(2) Music(3) quarantine(2) Wesco(1) E.coli(1) UN(1) Europe(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Children's Voice(1) role playing(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Advocacy(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) University(1) Sociodramatic play(1) early years learning(1) child-centric(1) online training(1) Seas Suas(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) social science(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) awards 2020(1) Inter-generational(2) Return to Work(1) Sport(1) Thanks(1) Health(2) Role play(1) play pods(2) Behaviour(3) National Research Conference 2019(1) Routines(2) Relaxation(1) man up(1) ERASMUS+(3) Looking Back(1) democratic citizens(1) Death(2) Qualifications(1) interacting(2) Window(1) presentation skills(1) mental health problems(1) Smiles(1) june29(1) Rich Documentation(1) Culture(2) Childcare(3) Japan(1) ReCreate(2) Autism(4) Albert Einstein(1) Gratitude(1) Leadership(1) Diversity(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) Reggio Children Network(1) Plastic(1) Nutrition(1) feisty(1) Mark Twain(1) early years research(3) keezy(1) National Awards 2019(1) Upcycling(1) Sculptures(1) gender stereotype(1) AsIAm(2) AIM(2) Impact(1) listening(1) Nonverbal(1) Mount Everest(1) Loss(1) books(5) Fabric(1) outdoor space(3) Pobal(1) timekeeping skills(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Opportunities(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) CCTV(1) Infectious diseases(1) trust(4) an post(1) COVID-19(18) Engineering(3) Degree(1) Graduate(1) Magda Gerber(1) TRAP(1) coronavirus(1) routine(2) Socioemotional development(1) toddlers(3) Family wall(1) Covid response(2) Twitter(1) memories(1) conference(1) Confidence(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Trick or treat(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Laughter(1) Through the looking glass(1) Fee Play(1) Story(2) Treasure(1) Learning Journal(2) Reggio(1) partnership with families(1) dogs(1) Anxiety(2) Irish(1) Support(1) Children's Book Club(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Patterns(1) Engagement(1) scéalta(58) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) science week(2) Snakes(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) youdoodle(1) Malaguzzi(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Professionalisation(5) dublin(2) Counting(1) children development(1) EECERA 2016(1) value(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Maria Montessori(1) mushrooms(1) Body Language(1) San Miniato(4) Weather(1) Favouritism(1) life long learning(1) playleader(1) Engineering Ireland(1) First 5 strategy(1) Belonging(3) Kindness Challenge(1) TUSLA(1) developing motor skills(1) Siolta blog(8) child led(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Exit interview(1) built environments(1) Budget 2018(1) Magic(1) emotional environment(2) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) linc(1) Motor neuron disease(1) women in research(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Limerick(1) Xbox(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Supernanny(1) Spiders(1) STEM(3) Frustrations(1) COVID(3) Awards(2) Painting(1) UD(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) apps for children(1) UK Government(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) NAEYC(1) family time(1) Winter(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) ears(1) Funding(1) Exclusion(1) pets(1) emotions(2) Thinking(1) Workplace well-being(1) Ceremony(1) Irish guidelines(1) curiosity(3) inspiring interactions(1) Art(6) education(2) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Regulation 23(1) respect(5) Valerie Gaynor(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Photographs(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Maternity Leave(1) Early Learning and Care(2) ECIAwards20(1) Imagination(3) play therapy(1) RIE philosphy(1) Return to Work Training(1) Gardening(1) Mathematicians(1) Policy(2) Mo Scéal(1) imotion(1) worries(1) research submissions(1) Learning Story Awards(2) St. Patrick's Day(1) Child mental health(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) homeschool(1) Ariana Pucci(1) risk assessment(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Performance Management(1) meals(3) Learning journals(1) Creativity(7) supportive environments(2) Administrative Burden(1) Children's Rights(3) Frosty the Snowman(1) MA(1) Study Trip(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Children(8) Exploring and Thinking(1) Covid pandemic(3) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Awards 2018(3) Early Years(1) transitions(10) Reflective Practice(1) Giraffe(2) College(1) democracy(1) Independence(1) Bereavement(2) Vertical grouping(1) TOY Programme(1) christmas(9) Visual Impairment(1) play pod(1) Croatia(1) Well-Being(10) Traffic Lights(1) Sustainability(3) Horizon 2020(1) Time Out(1) code of ethics(1) Biting(1) Mindfulness(3) Anthony Semann(1) Afghanistan(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Training(3) Laugh(1) Self Help Skills(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Kids Own(1) early childhood(1) Equality(1) Change(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) healthy eating policies(1) Vietnam(1) RTE Investigates(1) Penguins(1) SAC(1) Challenges(1) maternity health(1) Light table(1) Design(1) curriculum(7) Graduation(1) Document Learning(1) Facebook(1) Easter(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Leprechauns(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Academic Skills(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) ICBN(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) social media(2) Oireachtas(1) Awards 2019(1) Sequins(1) Flowers(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Treasure Chest(1) Playdough(1) Communicating(1) Sleep(1) Jenga(1) Social Skills(1) DCYA(6) Pre-School Services(1) Magnavacchi(1) Looking Forward(1) European Project(1) science(3) peer group(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) community(5) Communications(1) early years settings(1) Potential(1) art of the relationship(1) Lego(2) Feeding(1) communication(4) keep in touch(1) Family(1) development(9) COVID-19 landscape(1) reopening(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine