Child care entails providing care to the children, observing their actions and monitoring their development. The care providers care about the child’s mental, psychological, physical and emotional growth. Child care is viewed on a wide range depending on the socio-economic set-up, schools attended, conditions that the children are under and even the activities taking place in the care centers. Nonetheless, the care can be either home based or in the institutions offering the care, for instance, day care. It is also important to know that how parents react to the children will make mental, social and emotional growth easier on their own children or quite the opposite. At home children who are older; in other words older siblings offer informal child care services. They keep an eye out for the younger children and also through the verbal instructions they are a lot more active in a lot of their activities at home like the house chores and being restricted on what to do, this imparts obedience and discipline.
Kindergarten teachers are also greatly considered caregivers. The main reason behind this is that the teachers play a part in making the child learn that they take part in the built-in role as a whole hence necessitating the symbiotic relationship amongst the children, learning to help one another. The main aim of the daily program at schools; be it kindergarten or elementary school is to make sure that the activities are adjustable to accommodate all of the children’s heed and also on a personal level. In other situations there are always the professional child care providers who have the skills on how to handle children and guide them evening their mental maturity.
Mathematics is literally part of any child’s life. From the age of one, each child grows more and more curious to know how many fingers they have and with their toys, they would really be eager to know what shapes they are. Moreover, with each activity they carry out they all become a routine and with it come a math learning chance. With the mention of numbers comes all the other applications involved in mathematics; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The toys at home start the kids well at home because in due time they can learn to put together two of the toys to three others and get five as a total. This eases their mental development and makes them even sharper at school with the knowledge of these mathematical operations (Baroody & Dowker 2013).
Children are naturally curious and love to arrange similar objects together. For instance, toy truck and toy vans; the truck is often bigger than the and so a child can differentiate that and also when we narrow down to the trucks there are trucks with more car tires than others and that way they can also be separated (Clements & Sarama 2011) Children are amazed by the different shapes and sizes of everything; trees, mountains and even elephants. On the report of Clement and Julie Sarama, measuring is often a great way for children to learn. This helps the child to grow and progress more in their own train of thought and in their rationality (Baroody & Dowker 2013).
Most children grow up playing with building blocks. On most of these blocks, words like; up, down, below, behind, beside, aside and on top of are written. These words are helpful to the child while playing but come to think about it is helpful in all sectors of the child’s life. At home when the kids are told to put their toy aside they understand and at school when they are told to stand behind someone they can understand (Clements & Sarama 2011) According to research, children who have attained such spatial skills have a higher Intelligence Quotient. The building blocks also come in different shapes; circles, trapeziums, triangles and perhaps squares. These are of great aid when it comes to their math lessons as they already are used to being around the shapes. The spatial skills come in handy in directional language and also in setting spatial awareness in motion (Baroody & Dowker 2013).
In any educational institution, children are often given assignments and considering that this article majors on the mathematical concept, the assignment will often consist of problems to be solved. Being able to navigate through the questions and knowing that there is more than just a way to tackle it is a merit on the child’s part (Clements & Sarama 2011) Majorly because the child acknowledges the knowledge he had already learnt and rational thinking skills to find answers. When learning the children are often taught about patterns – regular forms and sequences which may be presented in form of shapes or numbers. With the knowledge already gathered the children are able to predict the next shape or rather the next number. For the reason that any child has this knowledge, they can predict and understand what is to come next in logical grounds which are after analysis, interpretation, at times explanation and deduction (Baroody & Dowker 2013).
In addition, as a child grows more, their thinking abilities are to be developed more. Math helps anyone develop critical thinking skills which is a huge responsibility to handle once in the real world where one will have to tackle head on head with the economic crisis, with competition at job markets. All this is hard to handle when lacking critical thinking which an essential intellectual skill is. In primary schools or rather elementary school, mathematics is taught with the main aim of it being a way to develop problem solving strategies that have a positive impact in the daily human activity (Baroody & Dowker 2013).
In any child’s growth and development there are always problems that the parents face or the child directly face and in one way or another the problem often causes a hindrance in their own mental grown. Since mathematics is directly linked and depends on the brain functioning then its maturity is also deterred. In spite of all the problems faced the children always make it through and that always marks a great change in their lives and most importantly in their mental and mathematical development. Babies grow and develop and in the main changes are starting to mimic facial expression, gazing more at their surroundings and even recognizing the faces it’s used to. Babies beginning to sit up and crawl exploring the area around them is just one amongst the greatest times of their development. As a show of their mathematical development, they are able to make use of the size of the item in proportion to how near the object is (Rao & Lee 2014)
Toddlers begin to walk. And walking alone is a great achievement in their life. At this age the toddlers are able to start playing the building blocks game and mathematically they are developing more knowledge on shapes and language. Toddlers learn more about their surrounding through walking which makes them familiarize with their surroundings. At this point, they can compare objects in terms of size, shape and even color. When a child hits two years, they often feel like they can do things by themselves and often at times they imitate the house chores they see is being carried out for example cleaning the house and doing laundry. Most importantly, a great mathematical development is that they can be sent and follow directions just as had learnt while building their blocks they understand what they are being told (Rao & Lee 2014)
As earlier on mentioned that children are often curious by nature, at the age of three their guardians and parents are frequently swarmed by why questions and they always want to know more about why thing are the way they are. What’s more is that at this age the child is able to know his or her reflection in the mirror. Mathematically, the children start to group objects of the same shape together. Their eyes are more focused on observing and taking in every view whilst their ears heed to every instruction they are given. As for preschool children, their mental milestone is that they can count; name various colors and more so they are prepared to go to school more than ever before (Rao & Lee 2014)
In the learning experiences of a baby, the educator at that time is mostly the guardian or the parent. With a baby, everything is engaging because the baby cannot walk well yet by itself. There are games like pick a boo, this entails turn taking whereby the face is covered with ones hands and then the hands are taken away. This game puts across some rules and regulations on turn taking. Sorting toys being yet another game that carries a mathematical concept, from its name sorting which involves organizing the toys into groups of the same color, same shape, size and thickness. This conveys the mathematical art of classification (Parlakian, 2018).
Babies and toddlers are taken care of nearly the same way as they are still young unlike the already pre-schooled children. To be precise, toddlers are the ones who are closer to going to school as compared to babies. Toddlers love it when things are done in unison for example counting together. This is a great introduction of math to a child. The knowledge of shapes can be learnt like finding treasure chests and through what will seem like a game, the child will be able to gain skills and know which shape is which. On spatial relationships, it would not be as hard with toddlers being at their best behaviors. Those who adhere to instructions to the letter, will be told “come toward me when I say near and away when I say far” (Parlakian, 2018).
Toddlers can be taught about size just with their stuffed dolls and toys. Toddlers have the highest levels of curiosity and at their age they are able to learn a lot that will make their math in preschool a lot easier. Through their learning experiences they gain courage to express what they have learnt already and they are made aware of spatial relationships which plays a huge role in their social life and in language and direction understanding (Parlakian, 2018).
The basis of math is better introduced and made understandable to a child at a tender age so as to grow with the great knowledge and made the foundation. When the concept is made crystal clear at a young age then it would definitely not be a problem later on. With the certainty that children at this age are mostly playful, teachers and parents use the best means to get them to understand what they are being taught at school and how to uphold their knowledge even when at home. For instance, when it comes to the topic of counting, it is great when the children count their toys at home and even buttons. This will make math fun and exciting, make them know that math is literally everywhere and most importantly they would have scooped the counting content (Parlakian, 2018).
For a preschool teacher, he/she knows that it is not easy to handle any child at their playful stage. The teachers make the math actual and avoid making it something to be just learnt but to touch the community and family. Considering the fact that math is a subject that can blend in with almost all the others, it is nice when they are mixed. And just as the teacher brings up cohesion when making the class solve problem in pairs, it is always nice when teachers also share ideas on which teaching technique works on who and how they make it work out well. As for new teachers, they can screen for math awareness. For a preschool math teacher, he or she should be able to frequently assess the students. This is advised so as to keep them on their toes and help them avoid losing their track (Lee, 2017)
When it comes to patterns and sequences there are crayons, differently shaped objects, items of different sizes, texture and type of item. This will help the children learn to sort in even a wide spectrum; in accordance with size, shape, texture and color. In patterning there can be block, crayon, toy in a continuous regular sequence and that would have made things a bit easier on the child in that it will look like a game and at the same time it is something that will be very aiding at school (Lee, 2017)
Preschool children being at the most vulnerable stage and need to have the mathematical fundamentals on their fingertips. Children after having the complete idea of mathematics will have the chance to keep track of the math skills and with that they will not lose their track. As earlier discussed about the building blocks game which not only helps in math but also in other subjects, for example, English as the words; under, above and behind are prepositions. In addition to that it creates spatial awareness and the child is cognizant of his or her own social space (Lee, 2017)
Primary school education is important as it is a stepping stone to something even greater. At this age the children already have the art of drawing and the best strategy is having them draw charts on the fundamentals of how to find answers to their math problems. This is the age whereby team effort will be highly thanked. Once a teacher has already solved one problem, using the method the children are given a chance to work in pairs in solving the problem. For the class to be more active and a little more co-operative the teachers can ask questions often and with the effort of attempting the problems, they learn new ways to solve a trickier question. In their assignments, they can be asked to find other ways to solve the problem given (Chen & Leow 2014).
Through the teaching experienced by primary school children instills a lot of courage and makes them share more – via the group work and answering questions that they are asked. And through the asking of questions and answering, the reasoning skills of each of the students are widened and their confidence to tackle questions like that is even boosted (Chen & Leow 2014).
In conclusion it has been seen that each student is important and that’s why there is teamwork to ensure that they are all intact. The cooperation amongst the students and among the teachers makes the whole development of math a great accomplishment. The children’s early learning of math makes things easier on them in future. The preschool teacher, for instance, works on the knowledge of the students and takes advantage of their curious minds and voluntary discoveries of new things to make them further understand a lot more about math. From this article it is vivid that mathematics is the basis of an array that leads to a lot of other subjects; accounting and economics and even sciences like physics and chemistry. Without math that will mean that a child’s bigger dream will have to be narrowed down to a limited spectrum of courses.
Baroody, A. J., & Dowker, A. (Eds.). (2013). The development of arithmetic concepts and skills: Constructive adaptive expertise. Routledge.
Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2011). Early childhood mathematics intervention. Science, 333(6045), 968-970.
Rao, N., Sun, J., Wong, J. M. S., Weekes, B., Ip, P., Shaeffer, S., ... & Lee, D. (2014). Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: A rigorous literature review. Department for International Development.
Lee, J. E. (2017). Preschool teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics. International Journal of Early Childhood, 49(2), 229-243.
Parlakian, R. (2018). Exploring Math with Infants and Toddlers. YC Young Children, 73(3), 90-93.
Chen, J. Q., McCray, J., Adams, M., & Leow, C. (2014). A survey study of early childhood teachers’ beliefs and confidence about teaching early math. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42(6), 367-377.
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