The Early years of school is the beginning of every child’s educational journey. Whilst teaching this group I have often wondered about the pedagogical nature of using games to enhance mathematical learning. I believe that games have an effective way of engaging children, but do they really enhance a child’s mathematical understanding of the concept/s being explored? I intend on reviewing research literature that focuses on the use of games in the mathematics curriculum and how it nurtures quality learning.
Children are active learners who create, modify and integrate ideas by interacting with the physical world, other children and adults. Mathematical activities that resemble games often provide the basis for this interaction and learning. It is imperative that teachers create quality mathematical programs for their students so that it engages, motivates and supports their learning. Teachers will generally scaffold and provide adequate support for learners to understand new concepts. I want to know when children are exploring concepts by playing games with rules are teachers still involving students in quality education? Are they still receiving quality instruction as they interact with other adults, peers and more capable students other than the teacher whilst playing the games? Do these interactions enhance mathematical learning or does it inhibit a learners growth towards understanding.
Currently in Queensland, Australia the early years teachers are working with the Early Years Curriculum Guidelines (2006) also known as the EYCG. The document draws attention to the perspective that children are strong, rich and capable. All children have a preparedness, curiosity and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating and everything their environment brings them Gandini, L. (1993). The guidelines advocate for play based learning and recognise that through play children learn numeracy practices, they develop thinking and problem-solving strategies. The EYCG identifies 6 types of play socio-dramatic, fantasy, exploratory, manipulative, physical and games with rules. Do these types of play enable children to explore and extend their mathematical understanding with any new concepts?
In the early learning area (ELA) Early Mathematical Understanding (EMU), the focus is on children investigating their environment and communicating their mathematical ideas. Therefore if children are working in groups playing games of a mathematical nature are they able to investigate and communicate their ideas and understanding? I would like to...