charting, counting, categorizing

“Reciting one, two, three, four, five, and so on, is fun for a child, but it is not really learning math.

Math starts with the excitement of moving and touching real objects, gathering them into groups, counting each one, one at a time. It is exciting to discover that these words stand for quantities of like objects – buttons, peas, spoons, family members, stars in the sky – and later to realize that these concepts are used and understood all over the world.”

– Susan Mayclin Stephenson. The Joyful Child. Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three

and so we count, we sort, we categorize and we even graph and chart our results. the simplest of which is to do so naturally, daily and have it naturally build month after month. that’s right, you guessed it, we do so with the weather! in our morning meetings we have a lovely large bank of windows where the weather is easily observed and beautifully reported. ‘numeracy‘ is an important concept: sorting, categorizing, counting, patterns … it’s truly a vital piece of our cognitive development.

calendar - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

we use the pocket calendar chart from Lakeshore Learning and I cut 3×3″ squares out of sentence strips to fit each pocket. clip-art was my source for the weather pictures and after some cutting and pasting and writing a set of weather was created to be used with each day of the month. this process is also easy enough that if we need additional weather options — like our six day stretch of a heatwave {like no other!}, it is exceptionally easy to add these options.

calendar 2 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-combut the piece that grows and grows all month long is the chart we create every month. cutting 2×2″ squares out of construction paper {which, when we’re done, gets recycled in the collage bin in the art studio!} are added to simple column footers. every day we add one more block. every day we write a number on this addition and compare, contrast, hypothesize and observe the pattern that’s emerging in front of us.

we also use language with all ages to talk about what we see and to ask questions such as: “which weather type has more?” “which has less?” “how many can we count to in the ‘hot’ category?” and so on. during the month we make projections — “which weather type do you ‘project’ to have the most? the least?” and so on. the possibilities to weave into the natural language of the day is entirely endless.

calendar 3 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com:: today, in your adventures with your child, how can you weave in counting, patterns or categorizing? when you take a nature walk, how many trees can you count? acorns? steps from one space to the next? what about in the kitchen … this space seems to so beautifully and effortlessly lend itself to numeracy (and literacy!) in any age child. 

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