You have to recognize when the right place and the right time fuse and take advantage of that opportunity. There are plenty of opportunities out there. You can't sit back and wait.
In the book, Curriculum: Brain Research, Math, Science (A Beginnings Workshop Book), Becky White writes about how after-school programs can support math learning in a fun way. Here’s an excerpt from one of her suggestions:
“The Penny Jar:
- Ask parents to drop their loose change into a large jar in your classroom/center where children can enjoy watching it fill up.
- Talk about a use for the money. You might want to donate it to a children’s charity…
- Sort pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, teaching children the value of each. What can be purchased with each? Give real-life examples [with] after-school snacks…
- Help children count out ten pennies to make a dime and then ten dimes to make a dollar…
- Gather coins from other countries to raise children’s awareness of the diversity in our world. Books from the library are useful for sharing the history of money…
- Use read-alouds with children to talk about money…[such as ] Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst.”
And in the book, Teaching Four-Year-Olds, Carol B. Hillman talks about hands-on ways to support math learning for four-year-olds: “We do a lot of counting each day. When we do our cleanup of the block area, I ask one child to give us a ‘magic’ number. If it is ‘seven,’ then we carry seven blocks at a time and put them back on the block shelf. They count the crackers or pretzels for snack time. They count the number of crickets that are given to the chamelions. They count the numbers of mealworms that are given to the toads…”
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