kindergarten, math, math is fun, numeracy, Ottawa Activities, preschool activities, temper tantrums
Last week I posted about my first (of six) weeks with my 4-year-old at Esso Family Math Night.
That would mean there were then five left.
But that’s okay.
Or so the poster says.
My daughter looked more like this when I reminded her it was time to go again last Wednesday night:
While this probably should have been a sign, after the initial shock wore off, she remembered she might get to play in the kitchen, so things started to look up and she was actually quite happy and chatty on the ride over to the local elementary school where the program was being hosted.
For those who missed my first post in this series, briefly, the program is for 4-6 year olds and is offered free (FREE!) courtesy of our local Ontario Early Years Centre. My daughter’s first report card from school noted, among other things, that she still needed to grasp basic math concepts – so when I saw this program, I figured it was a great opportunity to boost school learning in a fun environment.
[As a note before continuing, I’d just like to say that while I do have a bit of fun in these posts with my child’s reactions to the program, I am FOREVER GRATEFUL that programs like this one are offered free of charge in my city. I’m thankful for the chance to participate in them with my daughter.]
So, with my glass half-full and heart full of hope for a fun night full of mother-daughter bonding and learning I give you:
Math is Fun: Night Two – A Retrospective
This week’s theme was Mathematical Me!
We started with an estimating game again – this time estimating the number of socks in a large estimating jar, rather than Teddy Grahams in a small jar (which was last week’s estimating game). The idea here being to drive home the notion that a number of BIG THINGS and a number of small things is still just a number of things.
Next up was a craft where the children were to trace each of their hands; then cut them out; and then use them to measure things around the room (ie: how many “hands tall” is that table? The chair? Mommy? etc…) Given one of my daughter’s other “areas for improvement” would be anything to do with tracing, writing and scissor skills, while this was a good opportunity to
completely overwhelm her with something else she struggles with after an already long day at school and after care work on additional skills as well, in the end we made “mitts” rather than “hands” and I helped with did much of the tracing and cutting.
Then we got to the measuring part of the activity. After much cajoling to measure, well, anything, we did a few measurements before she stuck her fingers in her mouth (a bad habit we have been working on breaking for about a year now) and refused to do anything else. I then told her to take her fingers out of her mouth and when she ignored me, took them out for her (in retrospect, a mistake). This was apparently the LAST STRAW in what was already a shaky start to the evening. She proceeded to have a meltdown and demanded we go home.
Yeah. It was awesome. And I felt like some horrible tiger mom who was trying to force my kid to perform skills well above her level; rather than just trying to get her to walk about the kindergarten classroom with two red hand cut outs counting to a max of about five as we crawled them up various bookcases and dollhouses.
So we went outside for a time out together. We went to the bathroom. We washed our hands. We cuddled a bit. Once she calmed down I asked if she wanted to stay or leave.
And really, we’d have just left if that was the verdict.
But she decided to stay.
It went much better from there.
We missed a song about sizes. I think that’s what drew her back in though, given she loves music.
Next, we sang Ten in the Bed while moving the bears off a felt board bed as we counted down.
She was captivated by this activity (!!!) and went right up to the front to watch the little bears come off the bed one by one. I sort of felt like order had been restored to the galaxy until ….
…. it was time for another craft activity.
I held my breath as they gave us a picture of a bed and ten bears to cut out and try to fit on the bed.
But this went great! I helped with some of the cutting, but she did a good job on her own.
We had a chat about how many bears fit on the bed, and then she decided to give them all pillows.
Here’s the fruits of that labour:
I was pretty happy with her focus on this activity. She obviously enjoyed it and was having fun with the pom poms and the glue. We had some “I can’t do it, mommy!” moments with the scissors, but with some prompting she did cut them out mostly by herself, which was encouraging.
After this, it was snack time for the kids (Goldfish, apples and water), while the parents were given some more resources and activities to try at home (including a cut out activity with socks which I TOTALLY plan to get around to).
One sheet, which was pretty cool was this one. It starts with a number of literacy and numeracy activities for 4-5 years olds based on Penny Dale’s Ten in the Bed then carries on with other suggestions for number play generally.
I’ll aim to post some of the other resources we’re given in the coming weeks. It’s just that, after this session, I was left feeling a wee bit like this lady:
I’m trying not to be discouraged. Perhaps my daughter will come around. While I think she did a bit by the end of this session, my sense is it was more acceptance and wanting to please me, than actual enjoyment. I think she knows various of the activities we’re doing aren’t her strengths and she doesn’t like doing things she doesn’t do well.
And so I struggle with how much I’m suppose to
push encourage her.
We’ll see. Two down; four to go. I hope you’ll join me next time.
Wow, she’s four? Give her time. Just as not everyone learns to read at the same level, not everyone learns Maths at the same level. Just because your school is “concerned” doesn’t mean you need to be (yet). Hell’s Bells, my younger middle kid didn’t learn Maths until the middle of grammar school then he took off like a bat outta hell with them. Sometimes, it’s just gotta “click”.
Also, speaking as someone with Dyscalculia, Math is hard!
Thanks for this. I’m not overly concerned yet – but I do see that she is a behind her peers in things like numbers and letter-writing and the like so I figured if there was a way to help her then we’d give it a go.
I have to admit I go back and forth on this – there are times when I figure – like you say – that she’s four and everyone learns at their own pace and I should just let her be.
And then there’s the moments where she sits at playgroup (or in this program) beside the kids her age who are all happily printing their names or obviously understanding counting/amounts and such, and I’m a bit concerned she doesn’t. And then there are the notes home from school flagging where “we should work on things” – Which brings us to this program and my trying to figure out how much to encourage/push and how much to just let things happen on their own.
Lizzy - Muddle-Headed Mamma said:
That is really awesome that your community provides these activity nights and that you are taking the time to take her to them. It sounds like they organise a a wide range of hands-on, practical activities and games. You must have been exhausted by the end of the night! Music is so powerful in helping people of all ages to engage in learning, isn’t it? I’ve also seen it work wonders with kids who weren’t engaged at all before the music began! I also think a lot of kids are probably more likely to start getting interested in a subject if they see their parents/guardians or older siblings getting involved in it too. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the other maths activities you post. I really do thinks maths is fun! (and that’s not a typo, although I am very good at typos – we call it ‘maths’ with an s on the end in Australia 🙂
Thanks for this! As for music – I agree wholeheartedly. I’m starting to think, as far as “organized fun” goes, I might try to find a weekend music program I can take both of them too – I’m just not convinced it exists! When I was on mat leave there was a wonderful program called “Making Music Meaningful” that let me register my eldest child, and then bring my younger one to her class – but they don’t run on weekends, so now that I’m back at work, we don’t do it anymore (but it was WONDERFUL). I think music teaches so much to young kids while being fun. As for the maths(with an “s”)? Dad had to take her tonight for Esso Math because I worked late – which might make the next post on this a bit … interesting, but apparently tonight went well (although my husband is more than happy to let me take her to the rest of them!)
Sandy Ramsey said:
How great is it that these programs are offered free! That’s awesome! I think you are doing a good thing making sure that your little one gets the extra boost she needs and it’s great that they offer fun hands on learning for math. I hope it can stay at a fun level for her because at 4 years old, that’s really all they care about. She’ll get it, Mama….don’t fret! In the meantime, enjoy the bonding time!
As for free programming – oh yeah – I heart Ontario Early Years! As for keeping it fun – that’s what I’m hoping – it didn’t really feel that way mid-through last week’s session but things looked up by the end. My husband took her this week, and apparently things went well! As for bonding time – I think that’s probably one of the biggest benefits (when it goes well, at any rate).
Aussa Lorens said:
Oh man. That sounds really difficult… but it’s cool that something like that is offered. I was sooo horrible at math from the very start. I’m hoping my children don’t inherit this part of my brain because I will be zero help at all. It’s cool that they have those activities and songs though… kind of like a good sort of trickery.
Yeah – I didn’t really love the maths either – so I’m all for musical wizardry. Mostly, I just want my kid to be at least average. I’d, of course, like her to be a rockstar so I can retire and stuff, but right now I’ll settle for counting to thirty and being able to associate those numbers with amount. Maybe I’ll take her shopping … ie: this many coins buys x toy….
Aussa Lorens said:
That’s probably not a bad idea! Paying for chores and letting her buy stuff = uber motivation 😉
Beth Teliho said:
very cool that your area has these programs! it’ll be interesting to see if you think it was worth while, math speaking.
I laughed at the tantrum scene from Friends, and the one that happened with your daughter. Sorry. It wasn’t me, so it was funny.
Yeah – I’d have laughed if it wasn’t me. But it was. As for the Joey clip – after I posted, I thought about how I should have posted it again projecting it on me (ie: how I was really SO READY TO GO!!! by that stage of the evening too….)
As for whether it’s worthwhile – yeah – I’m, naturally, quite interested too 🙂
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