A large part of our play experiences involve mathematics. At any time in our room you will find children playing with equipment that encourages the development of math concepts. We started our school year providing math equipment and toys that would encourage sorting and patterning. We talked at discussion times about why we clean up our room and how we put things away onto shelves and into baskets. A sense of order in the room is quite comforting to many of our students. They began to discuss why certain materials were placed together on the shelves and where new items should belong. We talked specifically about different ways to sort objects, looking closer at the characteristics of an object. We asked "_______ sorted these bears by colour, could we sort these bears another way?" They quickly decided objects could be sorted by size, shape, and number as well.
The students have been invited to share and learn about patterns in their environment. Many delighted in showing us where they found or made patterns in the room. A big part of our mathematics learning involves the sharing of discoveries and concepts. At circle time each day students are often invited to share something they have discovered during play time. Hearing about math learning and experiences from another student helps to develop concepts at an early level and encourages the students to reflect on their own learning. It allows them to present ideas others may not have yet discovered or explored, it allows them to become more confident in their knowledge, to ask questions, and it encourages fellow students to stretch their own thinking in the next play session.
Here is just two of our favourite pattern stories: