Mathematical development is promoted through nearly all activities. In the wet sand area the children can choose different sized buckets and a variety of spades. They often talked about making bigger sand castles and were beginning to use simple mathematical vocabulary such as bigger, smaller, more than, take away. The water area promotes mathematical development in a similar way. The only difference I observed was the resources included measuring jugs and cylinders. Both activities have many toy animals and people which the children counted while throwing them into the water or placing them in the sand.
They were becoming more confident in counting up to five and establishing the relationship between numbers and objects. The construction area also promotes mathematical development in a very indirect way. They have building blocks of different sizes and colours and I found the children were sorting blocks by colour and size. I believe that resources are differentiated through size and colour in all activities to reach all the mixed ability children. Children used the cars and planes at different speeds and directions learning special awareness.
The math’s table is set up with two or three simple activities each day. The children are not limited to these activities they can still choose other games. At the start of the day the teacher modeled the games which involved counting using objects and numbered cards. I found that repetition is vital in building confidence and competence in learning numbers. Drury, R, etal, (2000) state that children can often recite numbers like a song, however this does not mean they are able to count successfully. “This means that the child must assign one number name to each object… ” (Drury, R, etal, 2000, pg.
142) I therefore kept this in my mind before planning my lesson. I also observed a wonderful role play game which promoted number recognition and money. (See appendix 2). For my lesson, I used the number line in the playground with a large dice. The children rolled the dice and enjoyed running after it. They counted the number of dots and moved their objects that many spaces along the line. This activity was popular amongst the boys as well as the girls and through repeated counting they were already becoming more confident in counting up to ten which was extremely satisfying to see.
(See appendix 4). According to the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage “Mathematical understanding should be developed through stories, songs, games and imaginative play… “). This was clearly evident at the nursery and I saw many examples of this through stories e. g. Six in a Bed, and through songs such as ‘speckle frogs’ and ‘mother duck’. Communication, Language and Literacy is another area which is developed in every activity. The staff is constantly modeling language through discussion and questioning.
The children are at such an innocent, young age and willing to talk about anything and everything and I believe it is the responsibility of the adults to encourage meaningful communication. The home corner and planned role-play activities allows children to talk to other children which is very egocentric and staff are always encouraging a friendly and caring atmosphere. This is essential especially for children who haven’t developed their speech properly yet and enables them to participate in activities more confidently.
It is also important for children who have English as an additional language. “The ability to communicate gives children the capacity to participate more fully in their society. They do so with adults who understand what they say through developing close relationships with them in an affectionate atmosphere. ” (DfEE/QCA, 2000, pg. 44) A writing table is set up which is stocked with pens, pencils, crayons, felt tips, different papers, staplers, hole punchers, scissors, dry-wipe markers and boards.
Children choose what resources they want to use and are encouraged to try and write their names on their work. The teacher also introduces a letter of the week which the children can practice in this area. The children are kept motivated by the variety of resources available and the freedom to choose and explore at their space and time. “It is also important that all the resources … are attractively displayed, and organized in such a way that children can access them independently. ” (Keating, I, 2002, pg. 15)
The book corner is full of a wide selection of books which the children can access at any time. It is set up with a comfortable little sofa and cushions and the children sit with books and tell stories to each other in accordance to the pictures. Although the children are unable to read the words they are becoming familiar with seeing words and can often follow the story by the pictures. For my task I chose a singing game ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ (see appendix 4). I sang the rhyme with the children two times and then I asked the children to see if they notice anything different.
I planned to change ‘clock’ to ‘wall’ to prompt a reaction. Some children didn’t really notice any difference but most showed a reaction to the incorrect word. I used a musical instrument to motivate the children. I found this task quite difficult as I found it difficult to pitch my lesson at the right level. However, the children enjoyed singing and met my set learning objectives. Knowledge and Understanding of the World is effectively executed through role-play activities. A different role-play activity is set up weekly and I observed a bus and shopping role play activity.
The children decided where they were going on the bus journey. They chose swimming baths, the park and birthday parties. They imagined the journey and described the bumps in the road and trees and discussed what they were going to do when they got there. This setting builds curiosity and interest and allows the children to make decisions which is recommended in the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. The shopping trip role play was great as the teacher brought fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world which they also tasted at snack time.
The water area is another example of effective learning. I observed the children playing in the water. They were filling the measuring cylinders and then putting stones in and watching the water overspill. They noticed that the more stones they put in the more water would spill out. It was then that I realized the importance of the foundation stage in learning. The water area had resources ranging from turtles, whales, dolphins and boats. Which I noticed was all related to water in some way.
Some objects sank while others would float and the children were learning through play how to use these objects. The sand area was decorated by desert pictures from around the world and the children tried to duplicate them in the sand. They talked about visiting the sea side and the things they would do there. Making predictions about the weather and the people they would meet. They also introduced the children to Indian music around the festival of Diwali while the children played outside. This inspired the children to ask questions about the different language.
In conclusion to this assignment, I would like to add that I never imagined the importance of education in the Foundation Stage. I thought it would be very simple basic teaching but in fact it is a very complex and structured process of learning. The children are developing their listening skills, sharing, patience and working together as well as the learning mentioned above. Most importantly they are building upon prior experiences and adding new experiences which will aid them in further education.
Blenkin M, G, Kelly, A, V, (1996), Early Childhood Education: A Developmental Curriculum, Second Edition, London, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd. Daly, M, etal, (2004), Early Years Management in Practice, Oxford, Heinemann Educational Publishers. Drury, R, etal, (2000), Looking at Early Years Education and Care, London, David Foulton Publishers Ltd. Keating, I, (2002), Teaching Foundation Stage, Exeter, Learning Matters. Wood, E, ; Attfield J, Second Edition, (2005), Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum, London, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.