Creativity becomes more visible when adults try to be more attentive to the cognitive processes of children than to the results they achieve in various fields of doing and understanding. -Loris Malaguzzi
Numeracy for young children is about order, patterns, comparisons, and measurement. I love that quote from Malaguzzi because it’s so true – the results are secondary in the learning process for young children. It’s a bit like the ‘process rather than product’ sentiment shared by many educators and art.
Did my sister get more crackers than me? How do these puzzle pieces fit together? How deep can I dig? Why won’t this fit? How many of these are in here? How much further can I kick this ball?
Loose parts lend themselves perfectly to Reggio-inspired math play. Processes like counting, comparing, sorting and estimating help children learn about the world around them. These open-ended materials really help children to make math tangible and less abstract as they learn the complex concepts.
You don’t need a lot of fancy materials. For example, I put a simple set of kitchen scales in the block area and it sparked some open-ended hands on learning about weight.
Cameron is really interested in measurement (of weight, volume, length) at the moment. At almost four, he still isn’t yet at the stage of understanding units of measurement. However, he loves to explore ‘what is heavy’ and making things ‘fuller’, and using a tape measure to see how long something is.
Cameron can read most single digits and has learnt a lot about quantifying through Montessori materials.You can support your child’s growing mathematical mind and thirst for order by providing the opportunity, freedom and materials to sort, problem solve, estimate, subtract, collate, measure, compare, count, match, sequence, add, collect, create patterns and shapes.
Join us in a fortnight for another Exploring Reggio post, and don’t forget to check out all the other great activities from our co-hosts:
If you missed our previous Exploring Reggio posts you can catch up on them in our Expressive Painting post.