About the speaker: Dr Valerie Muter is a consultant clinical psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she specialises in working with children with both developmental and neurologically based learning disorders. Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
Further information about this Talk
Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
To get hold of Valerie Muter's and Helen Likierman's latest book on how parents can prepare their child for school please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- The preschool years provide lots of opportunities to build up understanding of concrete number skills. Children learn how to use number in a very practical way during their preschool years. This very much sets the scene for how they will learn abstract maths when they start at school. You can use lots of play situations to do this. In fact not just play but also routine and day to day activities can be used such as setting the table, meal times, baking a cake, going to the shops etc. The following three tips can be used within your child's everyday situations to help build their concrete number skills.
- Counting: Before starting school children should be able to count up to ten. Parents can use lots of play materials to do this, such as bricks and toys. Get your child to practice counting up to ten, pointing to each of the objects as they do so.
- Addition and subtraction: Teach your child about counting in relation to the principle of addition and subtraction. They can understand simple addition by counting up and simple subtraction by counting down. For instance if you have two blocks in front of your child you can say, "We're going to count up by one and we get three". You can also introduce them to the concept of counting down or subtraction by counting down from two to one. This sets the scene for learning about addition and subtraction in more abstract terms when children start school.
- The Language of Maths: It is useful to teach your child the words they need to use to understand number concepts. This really relates in the preschool years to principles around measurement and shape. For instance you can get your child to look, feel and hold play objects so that they can learn about concepts of length (which object is longer and shorter) and weight (which object is heavier and lighter). Using these objects can also introduce shapes to children. The shapes that you should introduce in the preschool years are squares, circles and triangles. You can show children shapes as objects or you can draw them together.