Tips for Encouraging Math Skills in Preschool Children

Explaining The Concept of Part-Whole To Preschoolers

It’s essential to encourage maths skills in preschoolers as it lays the foundation of not just maths but other complex ideas like place value, higher level of number concepts, additions-subtraction and even word problems.

As soon as kids learn to count, the next step for them is to learn the idea of Part-Part-Whole(PPW). Studies have shown that a strong understanding of this concept is quite an achievement for a preschooler, which will further aid their ability to deal with the higher complexities of the number system and quantities.

Teaching Parts and Wholes Activities For Preschoolers

1. Introducing The Concept:

The idea of part-part-whole maths in preschool focuses on teaching the children how a particular quantity can be divided into two or more parts. For e.g. a six can be divided into one and five or two and four or three and three. An incomplete idea of this concept may lead the child to have a difficult time with mathematical concepts in future.

2. Have Fun With Parts And Wholes:

When students begin with their exploration of the parts of a number they need to be involved in the study in different ways. Explaining the ideas to preschool children only on a theoretical basis isn’t enough. We need to engage them with a multi-sensory approach where they can actually visualise the entire scenario behind the number concept for preschoolers. Once they learn to visualise these you can move them to work with pictorial representations.

3. Activities For Teaching Wholes And Parts:

  • With the help of five same-coloured cubes or blocks, you can ask your child to build a train. Now, ask them the number of cubes they have used to make the train and take their focus on the fact that they have used one single colour. Now ask them to make the train using different coloured cubes. Help the kids to understand how they add up to the same number.
  •  Give the children a total of five balls, but three of one colour and two of some other colour. Ask the     kids to put this group together and figure out the total.
  • Ask the kids to build up a triangle shaped pyramid with disposable cups. Don’t give them the cups      yourself but let them figure out how many disposable cups they will need to build a pyramid of a          certain level. Allow them to draw out an image of their pyramid to determine the quantity of cups        required.
  •  Another fun activity in the list of part-part whole maths games is forming a team of two, asking one kid  to keep the hands behind the back while the other kid has to place 5 beads in hands of the first kid.Without looking, the child has to tell how many beads are there in each hand. For example, one and four or two and three. Now show how combining them gets a total of five.

Introducing these concepts at an early age will ensure that the child has understood the basic concepts perfectly so as to add on the layers of new related concepts and ideas.

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