Mathematics

making paper chains

Deck the halls!

With Christmas approaching, the four-year-olds in my local nursery are full of anticipation as they practice their Christmas play and learn new songs for this special season. Last week they were busy making some festive paper chains to decorate their classroom in between a good deal of very wet play outdoors!

Paper chain making is relatively simple, yet requires incredible concentration and gives those finger muscles a fine-motor workout. As the children glue and stick together the colourful strips of paper, sing-song counting can be heard around the table: “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…one hundred!" And then they collaborate on the tricky task of attaching their chains together to form really long ones…

Interested in making paper chains with young children in your setting? Instructions here.

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Heuristic play

What is heuristic play?

According to the Oxford dictionary, “heuristic” means helping to find out or discover; proceeding by trial and error. It stems from the same root as Eureka – “I found it!”

In the early years classic, People under Three, Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson coined the term heuristic play, to explain how to provide a more structured opportunity for this kind of activity. Heuristic play “consists of offering a group of children, for a defined period of time in a controlled environment, a large number of different kinds of objects and receptacles with which they play freely without adult intervention”. It is particularly useful for children in their second year who often seem unwilling to engage in any activity for more than a few minutes.

Interested in running heuristic play sessions in your setting? Read this.

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counting

Supporting mathematical learning outdoors

Verbalising mathematical discoveries and observations during outdoor play helps children process each concept more deeply. As educators and parents we can support children in growing their mathematical language. “Knowing the right question or prompt to give at the right time in the right way to different children takes time, experience and practice to develop,” writes Lynda Keith. Lynda has some great insights and advice.

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boy and girl play with Outlast blocks by Storage unit

New Outlast point of play storage!

Effective, durable storage is a must for any outdoor area. The new Outlast storage unit crafted from rot resistant Accoya® wood provides a child-safe, convenient space for your Outlast blocks and crates. Additional resources, such as watering cans, sand toys, outdoor mark-making materials or natural loose parts fit too.

 

“The Outlast storage unit is perfect for us as it can be positioned permanently at the point of play,” notes Heather Forsdick, a kindergarten teacher at Herne Hill School. “ It allows the children to access resources while they're playing….. take things out and then put them back as well, which is fantastic.” See how children at Herne Hill School interact with their new Outlast storage unit and blocks in this 3 minute video.

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little boy sawing at the workbench accompanied by a practitioner

Working with wood in the early years

“Anyone who has witnessed young children tinkering away with tools in the woodworking area will know just how magical it can be,” writes Pete Moorhouse. However, despite the magic, many educators are afraid of the perceived risks involved in woodworking and the workbench has all but disappeared from many early years settings. Can this be remedied before we raise a generation of children who have never used a real tool in their life?

 

From his years of experience, Pete shares insights on the value of working with wood. The deep concentration, empowerment, and pride visible in the face of a child constructing with real tools will win over any sceptics. Read more.

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