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Counting the ways to support early numeracy development

Helping your child develop an early understanding of numbers and mathematics can be as simple as tapping into the numeracy you encounter day-to-day.

Numbers are everywhere, so its easy to take advantage of them.

A simple way to start is to incorporate counting into everything you do. For example, when you’re walking to the mailbox with your child, you could count out the number of steps it takes to get there. When you get to the mailbox, count the number of letters inside. You could even talk about your address and the number on your house.

Shopping trips can also provide a multitude of great learning opportunities. If your grocery list indicates that you need three bananas, two bottles of milk and 10 apples, count the items as you place them into the trolley. This type of invaluable activity helps children to develop a sense of what numbers actually mean.

You could also try having conversations based around transport. For instance, if you’re riding on a light rail, you could talk about the number of stops that are left before you reach your destination. This type of simple exercise enables children to begin playing with numbers and understanding concepts like adding and subtracting.

At SDN Pyrmont, we find that one of the best ways to explore maths with young children is through cooking. Not only are we dealing with quantities, but also fractions, which are actually something pre-schoolers are quite good at exploring. Does a recipe call for a ¼ cup of almonds? We like to talk about the process as we measure the right amount. Amazingly, this single experience yields so many different opportunities for children to explore maths and numbers. And most importantly, it’s also fun and meaningful.

Rachel Shanley, Centre Director, SDN Pyrmont

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