Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Shapes are Everywhere


Tuesday 05 February 2019

Maths was never my thing. I am proof that just because something has been taught, it does not mean it has been learned. I don’t know how many maths classes I sat through up to my Leaving Cert... but I never understood the relevance of trigonometry and theorems. Beyond arithmetic I was lost… and was first in the queue to buy a calculator! But geometry was different. The shapes and patterns interested me. I loved the shapes in architecture: arches and doorways, windows and balconies. I loved the shapes in nature: looking up at clouds, the silhouettes of tree branches against the sky, the shapes in ice when it cracks, in weather like we have had the last week. When I studied Montessori in college, the geometry material was my favourite. And it was at that age, using the Montessori material, that fractions made much more sense.

So, with shapes all around us, we really don’t need flashcards and lessons on shapes in toddler rooms and preschool rooms. Aistear’s principle play and hands-on experiences, encourages us to think about how children, in play, use their body, their mind, their feelings, and their senses. Another Aistear principle talks about relevant and meaningful experiences, saying that these kinds of experiences make learning more enjoyable and positive for children.

One-dimensional items, like flash cards, don’t provide for this. They are too abstract. Instead, it is better to have real, concrete materials. It is better to bring children out for walks, and together explore the shapes and colours that are naturally around us. Go for walks, look at the buildings, look at the trees and plants. Talk about the shapes of windows and doors. If you’re passing a castle, a church, a fountain, or town hall look at the windows, the roof, the doors. No need for research, just talk, draw attention to and take some photos (you and the children), so the conversation can carry on back at base.

Showing photos like this:

is meaningless, until you go outside and find some ice in a bucket, the top of the sand tray or in a puddle and ask the children to smash it. Hold the shapes, feel the cold, see it melt…then the image takes on meaning.

So, start the geometry… just tell no one that’s what you’re doing! You’re all having fun! 


Máire Corbett is an Early Childhood Specialist at Early Childhood Ireland. She trained in Montessori teaching and has completed an MA in Integrated Provision for Children and Families with the University of Leicester at Pen Green.

"Visiting member settings inspires me as I see the passion and energy educators put into providing great experiences for the children in their settings. I love seeing competent children at play!"

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Mixed age groups(3) phone apps(1) NAEYC(1) Educators(2) friendships(1) early childhood(1) Síolta QAP(1) Treasure(1) Degree(1) Building Resilience(1) meals(3) Patterns(1) Window(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Photographs(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Interactions(3) Inspiring Practice(1) bloom app(1) Learning Story(1) INTO(1) education system(1) Budget 2019(2) scéalta(51) RTE Investigates(1) Party(1) stories(3) Arts(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Magic(1) Bereavement(2) Exploring(1) Magda Gerber(1) story time(2) NCCA(3) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Maynooth(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) movement behaviours(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) early childhood educator(2) june29(1) UNICEF report(1) planning(1) Engineers Week(2) First 5 strategy(1) Horizon 2020(1) Certificate(1) Learning Stories Award(3) gender stereotype(1) code of professional responsibility(1) ECEC Setting(2) Learning Story Awards(2) New Appointments(1) Exploratory Play(1) CCTV(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Childcare(3) Socioemotional development(1) supportive environments(2) Engineering(3) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Learning Journal(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Early Years Educators(3) Advocacy(1) Smiles(1) Shoes(1) bonds(1) Light table(1) Vertical grouping(1) Mealtimes(1) conversations(1) Snakes(1) Funding(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Pobal(1) ERASMUS+(3) feisty(1) UN(1) social media(1) Childhood(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) University(1) ECCE(7) HR(1) National Awards 2018(2) Early Childhood Ireland(7) Adoption(1) Biting(1) Aistear(128) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) listen(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Lego(2) Change(1) Frustrations(1) CIT(1) Performance Management(1) Nonverbal(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) dining experiences(1) Opportunities(1) Plastic(1) Environment(2) Visual Impairment(1) baby room(1) Mantra(1) Rituals(1) Masterclass(2) linc(1) reopening(1) Celebrate(1) Self-regulation(1) Story(2) Afghanistan(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) children’s learning(1) Identity(5) CPD(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Prexit(1) Awards Night(1) Pedagogy(2) First 5(1) Wesco(1) Youtube Series(1) parents(6) Digital Devices(1) Anthony Semann(1) Creativity(5) Wendy Lee(3) Inspired Practice Award(5) emotions(2) Exclusion(1) Norway(2) worries(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Reggio Children Network(1) World Health Organisation(1) Staff Motivation(1) Early Years(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) interacting(2) youdoodle(1) Sport(1) IGL(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Super Shed Stories(2) RIE philosphy(1) EECERA(1) grandchild(1) Titles(1) Recycling(2) Valerie Gaynor(1) Leargas(1) Children and families(1) Jenga(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Pre-School Services(1) Learning Stories(9) Magnavacchi(1) development(8) Consent(1) pablo(1) ears(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Autism(4) Intention(1) Japan(1) research submissions(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Cork(1) science(3) Training(2) democratic citizens(1) Mindfulness(3) outdoor play(6) Pobal sector profile(1) Digital(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) lockdown(1) Meet the Members(1) preschool settings(1) Meal time(1) Communications(1) Fabric(1) Affordability(1) Quality(4) reading(5) art of the relationship(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Teamwork(1) Celebrations(4) San Miniato(4) learners(1) social science(1) Independence(1) Motor neuron disease(1) United Nations(1) AsIAm(2) EECERA 2016(1) UD(1) ICBN(1) Touch(1) Maths Week(1) TRAP(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Interests(1) International Narratives(1) Awards 2019(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Grief(1) Body Language(1) Self-Esteem(1) curriculum(5) Inspections(1) dining(1) Impact(1) play therapy(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Rich Documentation(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Child mental health(1) Scents(1) Queues(1) TOY Programme(1) iOS(1) Iraq(1) Pretend Play(1) ECEC(3) outdoor environment(1) Dance(1) Reggio(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Book Club(2) Confidence(1) Primary School(2) Through the looking glass(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Playdough(1) Reflective Practice(1) Leadership(1) Well-Being(10) Thank you(1) Sequins(1) early years learning(1) mushrooms(1) experience(1) risk assessment(1) Playschool(1) Cognitive development(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Eritrea(1) Self Help Skills(1) Trick or treat(1) Weather(1) Spiders(1) Traditions(2) Department of Education and Skills(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) community(5) Shapes(2) Sculptures(1) National Awards 2019(1) Art(6) Emergent Curriculum(1) SPICE Framework(1) Wilenski(1) education(2) Builders(1) Elders(1) Awards 2018(3) educarer(1) coronavirus(1) annual conference(1) risky play(2) Workplace Relations(3) Engineering Ireland(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Covid pandemic(2) Your place(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Laughter(1) Fantasy play(1) inspiring interactions(1) Line-ups(1) play(35) transitions(10) Blocks(1) Diversity(1) Children(4) First 5 transitions for children award(1) early life(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Xbox(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Administrative Burden(1) Inter-generational(2) Community involvement(1) Oireachtas(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) imotion(1) Anxiety(2) Children's Rights(3) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Settling in(4) preschool(4) Laugh(1) collaboration(1) environments(1) Creative(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Syria(1) Family wall(1) Return to Work Training(1) Snacks(1) ECIAwards20(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Hand Hygiene(2) Time(1) Book Review(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Home Corner(1) GDPR(1) learning bias(1) Breathing(2) E.coli(1) Event Guide(1) ReCreate(2) Orla Kenny(1) Leprechauns(1) relationships(18) learning(19) Communicating(1) Loving Relationships(2) Margy Whalley(1) Thinking(1) Budget 2018(1) Mayo(1) Children's Research Network(1) child-centred approach(1) Santa(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Seanchaí(1) childcare services(1) Behaviour(3) Aldo Fortunati(4) St. Patrick's Day(1) School Age Childcare(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Awards(2) Maths(6) Professionalisation(5) Síolta(132) Employee(1) Irish(1) under 3's(3) racism(1) Children's Voice(1) Easter(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Appreciation(1) Performing(1) Competent(1) food(1) Siolta blog(8) conference(1) DES Inspection(1) code of ethics(1) Mathematicians(1) UNCRC(2) Malaguzzi(1) Flowers(1) Capable(1) Treasure Chest(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Feeding(1) curiosity(3) Drawing(2) Obesity(1) Trigonometry(1) pets(1) Infectious diseases(1) Supernanny(1) Academic Skills(1) outdoors(4) Loss(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) family time(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Challenges(1) Infection Control(1) STEM(3) Universal Design(2) Qualifications(1) Plants(1) Proceedings Journal(1) refugees(1) Summer(1) Gardening(1) Graduate(1) Irish guidelines(1) gender bias(1) Exercise(1) dublin(2) structure(1) behavioural science(1) purpose(1) Sleep(1) listening(1) Sustainability(3) outdoor space(3) Wrapping paper(1) staying connected(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Confident(1) Kilkenny(1) life long learning(1) Arithmetic(1) keep in touch(1) Buddy Bench(1) Nutrition(1) Imagination(3) online training(1) Sociodramatic play(1) primary education(1) Interaction(1) Mount Everest(1) Decision Making(1) dogs(1) European Project(1) Document Learning(1) Reading Time(1) Winter(1) Vietnam(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Gratitude(1) role playing(1) memories(1) Seas Suas(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Positivity(1) Mark Twain(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Relaxation(1) Support(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Upcycling(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) value(1) democracy(1) Academics(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Inspirational(2) continual professional development(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) PIP(1) risk(2) Sweets(1) Technology(3) Thanks(1) MA(1) Our Little Seed(1) Trade union(1) Traffic Lights(1) Social Skills(1) Identity and Belonging(4) The Jelly King(1) ELC(1) DCYA(6) Little Buddies(1) Snack Time(1) man up(1) Whole Group(1) Valentine's Day(3) Large Doll Play(1) animals(2) Family(1) keezy(1) Map(1) Death(2) Glitter(2) Buddies(1) Arlene Forster(1) Time Out(1) Trade Unions(1) Kerry(1) Penguins(1) budget(1) The Lullaby Book(1) AIM(2) journey(1) Culture(2) Stress(2) Maria Montessori(1) Budget 2020(1) Equality(1) reopening ireland(1) National Pyjama Day(1) apps for children(1) Mud kitchens(1) aistear blog(3) Inclusion(3) communication(4) Study Trip(1) awards 2020(1) National Holiday(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Online Research Symposium(1) Love(3) Online(1) Workplace well-being(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Mental Health(4) Twitter(1) Decisions(1) peer group(1) children development(1) Care-giving routines(1) Participation(2) Italy(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Pen green(1) Facebook(1) documentation(4) Names(1) Empathy(1) Painting(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) emotional well-being(1) Albert Einstein(1) Sustainable(1) Maynooth University(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) mental health problems(1) overhear(1) Care routines(1) toddlers(3) Role play(1) learning hub(1) Child Care(1) educating(1) Human Resources(1) Halloween(2) Yoga(1) child-centric(1) Fee Play(1) responsive relationships(1) Small World Play(1) Research Seminar(1) Music(3) Engagement(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Maternity Leave(1) Recycle(1) respect(5) Workforce(1) play stories(2) Ceremony(1) creche(1) Routines(2) books(4) babies(7) Storytelling(7) trust(4) Graduation(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Visitors(1) Favouritism(1) play pods(2) College(1) Sessional service(1) Wonder(1) maternity health(1) Belonging(3) Potential(1) science week(2) Investment(2) Scéalta Blog(103) Games(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Limerick(1) Policy(2) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) MECPI(1) Running(1) Montessori(3) Iceland(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Health(2) Counting(1) Covid response(2) developing motor skills(1) Exit interview(1) play pod(1) Craft(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) EM Standing(1) routine(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) christmas(9) Design(1) Leaders in Practice(1) early years research(2) Giraffe(2) emotional environment(2) blog(48) Kids Own(1) Mo Scéal(1) research(6) Early Years Education(1) healthy eating policies(1) SAC(1) annual awards(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) eating(1) show and tell(1) COVID-19(13) Learning journals(1) Brain(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine