At the most basic level, Math is the study of patterns. By recognizing, copying, and making their own patterns, children learn that objects can be arranged in particular ways and have a relationship to one another, an essential pre-math skill.
At Square Roots Preschool, we practice patterns throughout the day. For example, when discussing the date and looking at the calendar, our velcro date cards fall into a pattern of colors: blue, green orange, purple…blue, green, orange, purple…blue, green, orange…what comes next? Our students say, “purple!” As we count up together to today’s date, the students learn the pattern and can predict what color will come next.
Studying patterns at home can be done with a variety of objects. Colored paper is quite versatile. First, cut out multiple squares of different colors. Then place them in a pattern for your child. The younger or less experienced your child is, the simpler the pattern should be. Try two alternating colored squares to start.
Once your child grasps the basic concept of the pattern, make things a little more challenging by varying the number of squares of a particular color: red, red, green, red, red, green…As your child masters more complicated patterns, you can then introduce a variety of shapes. Your child will then need to discern that the next item isn’t just purple; it’s a purple circle. You can also ask your child to create his own pattern for you to recognize.
Starting slowly and creating more challenging patterns over time helps build your child’s confidence and develops his sequencing and problem solving skills.