Early literacy & numeracy—learning about the passage of time at SDN Marrickville

A playful, hands-on approach helps children develop early numeracy skills, and the foundations for complex mathematical concepts.

When preschool children at SDN Marrickville started talking about travelling to other countries, and of video calls to family overseas, they were particularly interested in the concept of ‘time zones’. Early Childhood Teacher Charlotte and her preschool team seized this opportunity to explore the concept of time in a project loaded with early literacy and numeracy concepts.  

The team began by adding two more analogue clocks to the classroom, showing the time in China and France (chosen to represent children’s family connections). Seeing the arms pointed to different numbers, preschoolers asked, “Why is the time different?”  

Their question was explored with a hands-on experiment. With a globe and a torch, the children worked in pairs to be the Sun and the Earth. By slowly rotating the Earth under the stationery sunshine, they saw the day and night occurring at once in different countries.  



Charlotte says, “Time is a big thing in my room, I believe routines give children confidence, and learning about time helps give them peace of mind about what’s going to happen, and how much time they’ve got before moving to the next activity.”   

The children were invited to make their own clocks to show their favourite times of day. With different levels of numeracy understanding throughout the group, the educators spent time tailoring the experience to children’s skill-level. Some children looked at numbers, cut them out, turned them around and the ‘right way up’, some held the pencil and practised counting. Others wrote numerals in order around the clockface before ‘setting’ the time with clock hands.  

Analogue clocks help children understand the passage of time and time management. For preschool age children, they also build familiarity with numbers, counting, and patterning, and can lay foundations concepts like fractions and geometry, skip counting and equivalency.  

To learn more about our preschool program and curriculum pillars, visit this page here.

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