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Dublin Docklands Early Numeracy Week Runs from 12-16th May

This week, 800 children in primary schools and Early Years Care and Education Services in the Dublin Docklands will take part in an innovative, play-based project designed to support their numeracy development and improve mathematical skills in later life.

The children, together with their families and teachers, will take part in a range of fun activities as part of the ‘Dublin Docklands Early Numeracy Week’. The project, running from today, Monday 12th, until Friday 16th May, is led by the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at National College of Ireland, and funded by the National Early Years Access Initiative.

This is the third year of the project, which involves 9 Early Years Care and Education Services (ECCE), 6 infant schools and 1 afterschool project, along with and families and home visitors in ELI’s Parent Child Home Programme. The project also links with the local Public Health Nurses and the local Libraries.

Caitriona Flood, Project Coordinator with the ELI, said:

“Everyone involved in the ‘Docklands Early Numeracy Week’ has shown immense creativity and enthusiasm. This group of dedicated educators working with babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and infant classes in primary schools have made learning about numeracy fun, engaging and interesting. They have carried the message throughout the Docklands that children are born mathematicians, and have encouraged and supported endless possibilities for learning about early numeracy through play and every day experiences.”

The theme of this year’s Early Numeracy Week is “Symbols in the Environment”. Children (aged 0-6 years old) will get involved in fun, play based, numeracy activities relating to the theme, which take place in ECCE services, infant classes, on home visits, in the libraries, and at home with parents.

Activities, which are based on Aistear, the Early Years Curriculum Framework (NCCA 2009) and Siolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, aim to introduce the children to the language, concepts and skills required for success in Mathematics at school. They will include:

• Giving children a variety of different shaped toys like blocks (cubes and cylinders), balls (spheres), boxes (cubes) to explore, while talking to them about the shapes, their colours, sizes etc.
• Setting up boxes, cushions and climbing frames and tunnels for children to explore, while modelling the language used to describe the children’s actions e.g. ‘You can crawl through the tunnel’
• Encouraging children to find different shapes and sizes, both inside and outside, while talking to the children about how they are different to each other.
• Helping children to collect, sort and talk about different objects and natural materials like shells, leaves, stones, seeds etc.
• Showing children how to measure things using blocks (height of the doll’s house), lollipop sticks (surface of the table), length of the kitchen (using your feet, shoes or socks), while having a discussion about what you found.
• Taking children on symbol/sign hunts to highlight how important recognising symbols is in the pre-reading process.

Read more about the Early Learning Initiative at National College of Ireland or find them on Facebook.