When most parents and even some teachers think of patterns, it's in the most basic ways. Patterns are suppose to help children learn how to pay attention to detail, the first real lesson in learning to read. But learning to recognize patterns is about math also. It's not just about pictures, it's about counting the pictures before the next pictures, learning to recognize the colors. All of this is math related and mastering them is an important buillding block for young children. Sometimes in our eagerness to teach children to read we forget about the steps that lead up to reading. These steps are just as important as the reading itself and can ripple out and help children with music, science and other subjects.
I have noticed that there has been a shift in the information we teach children in the last couple of decades. Subjects that are considered too abstract, such as the calendar have been removed from most preschool and Kindergarten classrooms. The calendar is a great way to help children learn about patterns. The concept of different days of the week and months of the year can be grounded in something tangiable for children. Simple things like identifying the holidays in each month can help children remember what month they are currently located in, or using sign language. Below is a video of me showing you how I teach children the days of the week with the Mother Goose Time song and sign language. By doing this they are able to see the days of the week and can find the pattern of how the days fall. I have been doing this for years and it is amazing to watch 2 year olds pick up the days of the week.
The same goes for the months of the year. I do not use signs for that area but we do a dance for the song. At the bottom I have a video of us doing some of our circletime routine.
There are other types of ways that patterns are used in the Mother Goose Time. The materials that are sent can all be used to help children develop their sense of patterns.
One of the materials used is the pattern mat. I usually laminate and then cut out the pieces and use them at a math center. When they are done with finishing the pattern, they can then work on creating their own pattern. Many of the math resources sent can be used to teach children to find patterns in math. Such as the manipulatives. They often come in different colors and can be an easy way to help the younger children learn how to create simple patterns.
Patterns are not just about expanding math knowledge, it's about helping children learn to reason their way through problems. It is important that they not just learn the right answers to the questions, but that they learn how to find the answer themselves. Patterns and calendar concepts can help with learning to use logic and reasoning.
As they learn to remember what comes before a number and after...or what the day before was and what follows after the current day, they will begin to use their own reasoning and logic for why they remembered the answers. And isnt the most important part of education to teach them to think for themselves? Do not forget during the learning of these concepts to ask the children...WHY. Why did they come up with that answer and talk them through til they figure out the right answer.
Til Next time!
*Ms. Tessie recieves free products from Mother Goose Time for an honest review.