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Monday, November 16, 2009

Introducing patterns to preschoolers

There are patterns everywhere in the a preschooler's world - the key is helping preschoolers to begin identifying them through fun and engaging activities or opportunities.

Why should you introduce patterns?
Learning to recognize and create patterns helps cognitive development and is a basic component of mathematical and organizational thinking. As preschoolers learn to see patterns in their world, they will be setting the foundation for higher level thinking such as viewing patterns in numbers (5, 10, 15) or patterns in graphs and charts, patterns in organizing their toys, and so forth.

Start simple
The picture to the left is an example of an AB pattern. There are actually two patterns going on in this picture. Your preschoolers may see the pattern in colors first (red - orange) then notice that there is also a pattern in fruit (apple - orange).  As students become confident with AB patterns, you may choose to try AABB. Stick with AB patterns (patterns with only two attributes) before adding a C.

Patterns can be introduced through games and activities
Don't throw away those old bulletin board shapes. You can use them to create patterns in group time, for creating file folder games, and for pattern pieces on graphs and flannel boards.

Patterns are in every theme
Whether your students are exploring apples, rocks, leaves, shoes, mittens, or the weather there are patterns to be found.

Create people patterns
Have your students line up girl - boy, short - tall, pants - dresses, or give your students object to hold in their hand and see if they can stand up and organize themselves to make a pattern.

Create listening patterns
Have your students listen as you sound out AB patterns. Clap your hand once then tap your knee once. Then have your students give it a try with you.

Create movement patterns
Have your students help you make AB patterns with thier bodies. Stand up - sit down or eyes closed - eyes open.

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Paul said...

This article was great, thank you gave me an idea for a new section on my preschool website, about patterns of course.

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Hi Paul,
Next time be sure to share a link to your website so we can all view your ideas as well!

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