What’s going on for baby?

Between the ages of 2 and 3 children develop their memory for the ways things are done and the order in which they happen. This is known as the process, and it is an important aspect of early maths learning. It’s also a fundamental aspect of participating in most everyday events.

Put in another way, when a child understands the order in which things happen, they can anticipate what is likely to happen next. When they can anticipate, they are more able to participate.

They are starting to understand concepts such as big and small, same and different, and the meaning of one and two. They can use this understanding to match objects, and are likely to enjoy games and other activities that involve putting similar things together. This skill is also necessary for basic maths learning.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Talk about the steps that make up the process — ‘First we’ll do …, next we’ll …’
  • Talk about past events, such as what happened when the family went somewhere together.
  • Talk about what’s happening right now — what they’re looking at, touching and exploring.
  • Draw their attention to objects which are the same in one way, but different in other ways. This could include different sizes, colour or shapes.
  • Use the words ‘one’ and ‘two’ during everyday activities.
  • Ask their child to give them one object such as a peg, then two objects.
  • Count when going up and down steps.
  • Say rhymes and finger plays with numbers in them, for example ‘Two little dicky birds’.
  • Talk about ‘same’ and ‘different’.
  • Match pairs of socks and pegs of the same colour.
  • Collect bits and pieces when going on walks, and then take time sorting them — by colour, size or shape.
  • Find fun ways to tidy up and add in maths talk — pick up all the yellow/red/blue things, all the red blocks, all the books, or all the puzzle pieces.
  • Have a ‘colour’ day — wear clothes of the colour, eat food of the colour, do drawings in that colour and look for and collect things of that colour.

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