Published at Saturday, 28 November 2020. Worksheets. By Raissa Duval.
In my first year of teaching and for many years that followed, I spent an inordinate amount of time preparing my own first day of school handouts. I thought it was the "hook" that students needed. I thought that teacher dominated discourse represented learning. But it really wasn not. It was actually a cover up for understanding the true purpose of what a good handout actually is all about.
Remember that this age group also needs lots of counting, sorting, grouping, patterning, classifying and ordering activities. This will help in their mathematical understanding if they have been given the opportunity to explore all of these concepts. Simple activities like sorting buttons, putting away the shopping, threading colored straws, collecting and sorting things from the garden and lining books in the shelf from tallest to shortest are all ways in which these concepts can be reinforced at home. Do not underestimate the impact of Singing games like 5 little ducks went out one day and 5 speckled frogs sitting on a speckled log in the teaching of these concepts to young children. Maths concepts can be part of a large variety of everyday children has learning experiences. When the experience is relevant to them, they are more likely to retain the information and optimum learning takes place. There are also many software programs or online Maths sites that can help your pre-schooler learn the basics of Maths in a fun and visual way. Maths can be lots of fun and learning through play is relevant and meaningful for this age group.
I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm? The answer, of course, is YES they can. In my perfect world of mathematics education, no pre-school child is ever exposed to a worksheet of any kind. I would swing my magic wand, all worksheets would disappear, and the memory of them would be gone forever. In the real world, I know that simply will not happen. There will still be some parents who will insist on using worksheets.
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