Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Maths provision area

I've previously posted on another blog about maths.  I'm not going to rehash everything here again because most of it was common sense.  What I will do is display some photos of our provision area.
We're (or rather, I) are particularly proud of our maths area.  Although we know its still being developed, I feel we put a lot of the training we have had to good practice.  We've ensured that children's interests are being met and that we are stretching them.

Remember our children enter Nursery at a very low level.  Generally most children enter Nursery at around:

Number: early or pre 16-26 months
Shape, space and measure: early or pre 16-26 months.

We stuck with small wicker baskets which we saw in the Early Excellence centre in West Yorkshire.  The reason for this was using higher boxes meant the children were not able to see what was inside and were therefore not accessing the resources.

You'll notice we don't tend to use typical resources.  Many settings might use counters, compare bears, colourful rubber fruit and the like - we prefer more heuristic and exciting artifacts which engage children's imaginations.  Each item can be seen as something "precious" and is therefore more exciting to work with.

 So we have five little frogs (for the Nursery rhyme, or whatever they want to do!), some little glass stars (checked daily for breakages), our Nursery Nurses old taps and some colourful plastic clips I got for 50p from Ikea.  We also use oyster shells, glass marbles (large and flat), socks (to match) and juggling balls)  We also have a box of shapes out .  We try to add something different each week that we are in this area but it can be hard to source new and exciting things.  Sometimes its best to just add things from your topic or even things from the seasons.  We added pine cones last year as well as differnet sizes of seeds during our growing topic.
 Each shelf has sticky back on it to denote where the baskets belong (again, developing their interest and understanding of shape and space.)

 These were a brand new and popular edition to the setting.  They are simply talking tins but you can put a picture inside.  We tested them in the maths area and the children love them!  The most popular activity is of course just pressing them and listening to my voice over and over - but some will actually use them and match groups of objects the correct number.  It also helps children who are familiar with the sound of the number/number name but not with the numeral.

We also ensure we re-enforce nursery rhymes.  We use both ten green bottles and five currant buns (at the moment) but sometimes hang a washing line from the hooks at the ends and talk about matching and sorting socks.  This improves their fine motor controls as well as their understanding of same and different.

 We have begun the Rhyme challenge which is a encourages children's understand of rhythm and beat as well as common nursery rhymes.
We began with five currant buns and will continue with a new rhyme each week.  Setting out a few of the resources we used has helped us to make a link between the pack which was sent home and the rhyme in school.

  We focused on "Same and difference" for the first few weeks of this year.  We looked at black and white resources.  I've blocked out the photos however we had black and white pasta in our black (tuff spot) tray and were sorting, pouring and tipping these into different containers using different utensils.
We were using black and white paint and chalks to create pictures and talked about the differences. Ignore the staple gun - I'd literally just put this display up when I book the photo.

 We also have a table which one of our Early Years Practitioners set up where children are encouraged to think about shape and shape.  There are different sized containers with objects to "post" in, and hook onto.  For example we have bangles to post through a slot - where some are too thick or thin.  This encourages their linguistic development and gets them to think about the vocabulary that they need to develop.  We have pegs to slot into a large container and snail shells to pop into different tins.  This really helps the children working at the bottom end of the SSM strand however many children enjoy accessing these resources as they are visually interesting.

Finally - books!  This is something which I am still developing.  Its vital you have an interesting array of maths books however often the non-fiction books are so dull that I wouldn't want to read them.  We do have some books such as the "Blue balloon" and "washing line" which are exciting and allow children to think about size and shape.. however there are so many more out there which we still need to discover.  If you have suggested comment below:)

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