Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 8

Edx Education Advertorial PURPOSEFUL PLAY IN THE EARLY YEARS BY DR. PAUL SWAN Child Initiated Play Unstructured Teacher Planned Play Highly Structured Duncan (2012) “The play of children is not recreation; it means earnest work. Play is the purest intellectual production of the human being …” -Friedrich Froebel (The father of Kindergarten) E arly Childhood settings can vary from a loose structure, where play may be thought of as being ‘free’, at the whim of the child, without adult intervention, to highly structured settings that are teacher-led with little or no play. This article is aimed at the middle ground. While participating in these tasks children will be: • Developing their motor skills, gross and fine, • Learning about patterning – the precursor to algebra, • Sorting and classifying – leading to reasoning • Mark making – recording their experiences • Consider the following examples involving the big idea of patterning Pattern Play with a Purpose There are many opportunities throughout the home and school day for young children to have positive mathematical experiences. There is a fine line, however, between forcing children to do something and encouraging them to participate in an activity. Likewise, many mathematical opportunities are overlooked or lost in ever busier classrooms. In this article the term ‘Purposeful Play’ will be used to describe planned experiences where the teacher provides opportunities by: • Setting up materials and situations with a clear purpose in mind; • Supporting or scaffolding the children as they become involved in the experiences; • Developing vocabulary; and Purposeful Play Opportunities Jan - Feb 2018 A pattern is some form of regular or systematic arrangement of shape or numbers. A pattern implies some underlying systematic arrangement or structure. Mathematics has been described as ‘the study of pattern’ (Hardy) and ‘the science of pattern’ (Steen) Young children need to be able to: • Recognise a pattern, • Copy a pattern • Continue and complete a pattern • Create a pattern. mathematics | | Macaroni Necklace Young children often join a linear pattern to form a macaroni necklace. Some children may notice that the pattern just continues on the same loop. Printing Patterns Children can use stamps to print various patterns along a line. • Providing extensions to the experience that incorporate problem solving and reasoning. 06 | Patterns come in many forms, such as spatial and number patterns. Pattern leads to the need for algebra. At this early level, children need to be able to talk about the patterns that they observe and create. Some children may spot the repeated element of the pattern. Class Time Shape Patterns Beads of different shapes (or 3D objects may be placed in a line, e.g. square, triangle, square, triangle, square, triangle. Eventually other shapes may be added. Some children may even progress to multipart patterns, where colour and shape are used to define the pattern.