Part3: Maths in 3 year old’s life

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In the previous post, I talked about how the concepts of ‘big’ and ‘small’, ‘more’ and ‘less’ etc. In continuation of the Five part Series of Maths in 3 year old’s life, this time it will be about making them aware of different shapes and sizes.

After going through the ideas discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 , do you think, now it’s time to introduce numbers to your child? You can try, but let him play with shapes first. Ask him to collect all the round shaped things from his toys, kitchen, mama’s closet etc. Let him identify the things with “corners” and also the things without corners.

Introduce the words rectangle, circle etc. later similarly, box shaped things, ball shaped things or glass/pipe shaped things can be identified by the child. Let him trace these shapes on an old news paper/floor using a crayon or chalk.

The child can be given a tumbler, a plate or any other object for this activity. Through this type of activities, the child will be able to identify shapes as well as make grip on crayon/chalk. Let him scribble on slate or old newspapers instead of forcing him to hold a pencil and write.

Help the child to identify primary colours while he/she is using crayon s or playing with blocks or toys. These skills will help him to take interest in mathematics later.

To be continued …..

Part2: Maths in 3 year old’s Life

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In the last post, I wrote about introducing ‘pre-number concepts’ to the child instead of directly making them familiar with the numbers. You can read the previous post here .

There is no need to make special arrangements to teach these concepts o the child. Make it a part of your daily life conversation. While the family is having dinner, you can talk to the child as follows, “Aaditya, take the smaller plate, give the bigger one to daddy,” “Would you like to drink milk in this smaller glass or that bigger one?”

While keeping the fruits/vegetables in refridgerator, you can say, “Which one is bigger? A tomato or an apple?” “Which one is smaller? A capcicum or a pumpkin?” “Let’s try to keep this watermelon in this small basket, Is it possible? Why?”

Many more situations are possible while you spend time with your child. Whether you are helping the child to take bath or getting ready for school, these concepts can become a part of your conversation. The child will understand these concepts without feeling that he is being taught.

Part1: Maths in 3 year old’s Life

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Is your child 3 years old? Has he/she started going to school? May be, the teacher has already started introducing numbers. But, is the child ready to make himself comfortable with numbers?

Well, I don’t know how many of you will agree that it is really important to make the child ready for formal introduction of mathematics (numbers). Most of the students don’t develop any liking for mathematics because they were taught numbers without any preparation for learning the numbers.

Before the child is ready to learn numbers, make him familiar with pre – number concepts like: Big – Small, More – Less, Long – Short, Heavy – Light, Tall – Short and many more. Without understanding these concepts, there is no use of cramming the numbers. Along with this, help the child to arrange the things in series: like Smallest to biggest, lightest to heaviest etc.

When it comes to introducing maths to kids, it doesn’t really need a pencil and a paper at first. Before that let them become more comfortable with the concepts and ideas as discussed above

To be continued…

Can YOU really change the environment around you ?

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Is it possible? The most expected answer is No! You cannot decide about your environment beforehand. You can’t choose your parents, family, place before coming to this world.Very true! But you can change your approach towards the people and other things around you. Observe them and think deeply about them.

Some of them always discourage you when you share any new idea with them. Most of them respond in this way, “Oh, this is not practical at all,” or “It can be possible if you are lucky” or “Don’t waste your energy on these things. Do what others are doing.”These people are always walking on a well beaten and “safe” path. No risk, no trouble, no fear at all. Now, it’s up to you, how seriously you take these people.

You cannot avoid them. It will not be possible to not to meet them or see them at all. If you succeed in this approach, you’ve already started changing your environment. Negative thinkers are present everywhere.

Even if you share your positive experience with them, they’ll find something negative in it. They don’t take responsibility as a challenge, they take it as a burden. They’ll advise you to avoid as much work as possible to lead a stress-free life. But the reality is that these people feel unhappy most of the time. They are not giving good food (good thoughts) to their mind.

You can change your environment by avoiding this type of people and meeting people of different views, profession and backgrounds. There is no need to change your village, city or country. Save yourself from “thought poisoning” experience and you’ll see that you are living in a much better environment.

Remember! Nobody i totally negative or positive. Try to find positive traits in each one present around you.

Religion: How do our children take it?

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“Fundamental duties and rights” was being discussed with students of class 5. I was explaining “Right to follow any religion”. Most of them were showing their opinions like ‘Religion means to do good deeds’, ‘Religion teaches us to believe in God’,’God is one’ etc.

Then I asked, “Just think! If there was only one religion in our country, wouldn’t it be a better country, wouldn’t it be a better option than to have so many religions and beliefs? What are your thoughts about it?”

As most of the children were from same community, I thought that they’ll agree with me. But it was not so. Half of them said that even if there are many religions and communities, it doesn’t make a difference. But the others were saying that having one religion was a better option because most of the riots and misunderstanding among masses are caused because of different religions only.

“Do you really feel that riots happen because of religion ?” I asked. “Yes”, they said, “That’s what we come to know through newspapers, TV and other means”. Their views compelled me to think about my childhood days spent in my native village. I thought it was the right time to share my experience with them.

“Children! ” I said, “I want to share something with you. The village, to which I and my ancestors belong, has 50% Muslims. But I never heard of any riots there till now. Not a single family or person was hurt in the name of religion”.

After listening to my words, all of them looked surprised. “Ma’am! how is it possible? if this can happen in that village, then why not in other places?” one of them said. “Not only in that village!” I added, “There are many villages where people of different religion live peacefully. If you visit these villages, you can see that yourselves”.

There was a complete silence in the class for few minutes. “Then why do the members of one community attack the other community in cities?” they asked. “I don’t know”, I said, “Try to discuss with elders and find out the cause of these problems”. I don’t know how many of them will discuss this topic with grown ups and how their elders will respond. But even if one student tries to discuss and think deeply about it, I’ll feel as if I have sown a seed of integration and harmony so that people of India can expect a better future.

Feciliate, Motivate, Nurture

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Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of genius of each”         – Plato

Read these words carefully and think. Are we doing justice to our children ? Are we handling them with care? Answer these questions honestly if you are a parent, teacher or anybody who deals with children.

Can we force a plant to grow? We can only provide the basic requirements and wait patiently. Why can’t we behave with children in the same way? Being a teacher, I meet parents at regular intervals. Many of them are not at all satisfied with their children’s performance. Very often I hear this type of statements, “Everybody in our family is well educated. What’s wrong with my child?” or “I teach her maths for 2 hours daily, still she is not performing well.”

After an experience of so many years in this field, I can firmly say that making the child sit for long hours doing the same subject doesn’t help at all. It creates boredom and the child starts hating that subject. Instead of forcing the child, create a learning atmosphere. Reading bedtime stories to them every day when they are very young, will encourage them to read.

Set your own example by following a proper routine. Fix “study time” for yourself and follow it strictly. You may read newspapers, magazines or books in your study time. See that study area is free from distraction causing elements like TV, phone etc. In this way, when your child will start going to school, she/he will not face much problem when asked to follow the same routine.

Whenever you make a purchase for daily needs, ask the child to calculate the expenses (according to his level). This will help him in mathematics. Parents with more than one child should not think that same teaching method with work for all of them. If the elder one can study comfortably in afternoon hours, the younger one may do the same in the evening hours. Let them have this choice and help them to learn in their own way. It’s a slow and continuous process. Don’t expect immediate results