The initial years of child’s education i.e from birth to 5 years set the foundation upon which the future is built.
Recently, the National Education Policy has emphasized the necessity to enhance children’s numeracy skills early because a scarcity during this essential skill may be a strong predictor of low performance and high school dropout rates.
It was reported in the Indian Express that The National Achievement Survey (NAS), conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 2018 reported the mathematics score nationally is 64% in Class III, drops by 10 percentage points to 54% in V, and then to 42% in VIII.
Research shows early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math but also predicts later reading achievement even better than early reading skills.
Early age children have a surprising capacity to understand mathematics with their innate power, but most children are not exposed to such opportunities. This leads to late start by when their mind is already developed. Moreover, it is also found that children are exposed to a negative environment and trajectories in mathematics leaving a negative long term impact on them and can affect the children’s overall life course.
Children at an early age only ‘Play’. They cannot have any extensive serious learning by sitting at one place. But by ‘Playing’ they are often learning much more than that. They are natural learners. We don’t teach them to crawl and walk and then speak rather we only support their demand for learning.
Engaging the pre-schoolers in pre-mathematical activity allows them to invent solutions to simple arithmetic problems. Through an enriched level of play, they explore patterns, spatial relationships, shapes, compare measurements and of course count objects.
With this level of play, I mean their exposure to the natural environment. Maths is present in our environment and everything we do, for example,
- Patterns are present in our clothes, bedsheets, leaves of the tree
- Spatial relations is the movement the child is making
- Shapes in our belongings like mobile phones, plates and many more.
- Measurements in the daily activities such as drinking a half glass of water, rooms at home is divided into different sizes, for counting starting from one head, one nose, one sun to 10 fingers in our hand.
We just need to look around to observe the presence of Maths in our natural environment and allow students to explore. Importantly, this is not bounded with any kind of income level or gender.
It is high-quality education that can help children to know their environment and utilize their inherent skills in order to have retentive learning. However, if high-quality education does not start in preschool and continue through the early years, most children get trapped towards disliking the subject and leading to failure.
It has been found that most adults i.e teachers or parents underestimate their inherent power of learning capacity. Secondly, In today’s generation, we try to make them learn through books and copies primarily. Also, the preschool teachers are not required any formal education to teach the preschoolers. So, there is no deep understanding of how children are learning numeracy and mathematics.
Thus, there is an increasing gap in children’s learning and exploring and building confident minds. But there are ways to guide preschool teachers and parents to help them develop early confident minds for the future. One such book is the “Early Maths Matter” launched this Children’s Day.
Use things around you to make maths interesting for your children and give them a future they will enjoy with numbers.
If you have questions about how to engage your child further, talk to us in the comments below and we will get them answered for you.