Most of the math anxieties that some adults may have today result from the unpleasant experiences they have had with math during their childhood years. To avoid this from happening to your child, start imparting pleasant experiences to your child by teaching math creatively. Below are some methods on how to teach math creatively and effectively to your preschooler.
Always remember that before teaching abstract concepts, especially to young children, you always have to start with concrete experience. Using manipulatives can be the easiest and most effective way to do this. Manipulatives may mean anything that your child can touch, hold, move, or as the term, suggests, manipulate. Examples of these may come from household items like marbles, pebbles, colourful shiny stones, candies, popsicle sticks, crayons, and the like. You may use such items when teaching certain mathematical concepts like counting and basic operations. Be cautious, though, not to leave your child alone with manipulatives that may pose a threat of choking and any other form of danger.
Create Meaningful Experiences
Alongside manipulatives, expose your child to the application of the mathematical concepts you have taught. In other words, create meaningful experiences out of the concepts that you just introduced. Bring them to the grocery, restaurant, mall, sari-sari store, park, or even in your own backyard—anywhere you think that you may be able to introduce or experience numeracy and mathematical operations to your child. You may consider role-playing afterwards as a means of reinforcing these concepts.
Use Visual Representations
As your child increases understanding of mathematical concepts through manipulatives and role-playing, consider using visual representations to strengthen your child’s comprehension. Using posters and audio-visual presentations can be used for this.
The popularity of the computer, by now, cannot be stifled nor overlooked. Be careful, though, in choosing computer math programs for your child. Select a program that gives clear visual presentations and one that allows the child to learn at his own pace. You should also keep in mind never to let the computer solely teach your child. Make sure to be there with him when he needs help. Always remember to give specific rules when using the computer such as how often and how your child can use it.
Bear Your Child’s Interests in Mind
Always consider your child’s uniqueness when teaching. You should teach at a pace and in a manner that your child can understand and enjoy. Bear your child’s interests in mind. Use objects or visuals or role play that interests him and engages him. Whenever your child does make a mistake, avoid saying anything negative things as much as you can. Instead of saying, “No, you’re wrong,” try saying something positive like “Let’s try it again.” This way, your chid can increase his confidence in his math skills.
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Math needn’t be something hard to master. It all depends on how you teach math creatively and effectively to your preschooler. Always remember why you are teaching or tutoring him. It’s not to impress others, it’s for him to genuinely learn and grow.