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Maths

Why Is Early Math Important?

Is Math really necessary for a preschooler? Does it have any significance in a young child’s life? As a parent or guardian of a preschooler, we are pretty sure that you may be asking yourself these questions. If you are wondering, why should preschoolers learn math, you’re at the right place. 

The early learning experts at Kutuki have listed down reasons why Early Math is important for preschoolers. Read on to find out! If you are on the lookout for the right experts to get your child started on their preschool journey, join Kutuki’s Interactive Math Program today! 

Here are the reasons why Early Math is important for preschoolers.

Here, There, Math is Everywhere!

At times, we do not realise that math is a part of our children’s everyday lives. Children often encounter experiences that require them to make mathematical decisions. Don’t believe us? Let’s think about wearing matching shoes or deciding which shoes fit, sorting toys on a shelf or sharing a birthday cake equally with friends. These everyday experiences require math-based decisions to arrive at a solution. This helps them organise the world around them. For preschoolers, it is best to connect math to everyday life and nudge them to make decisions through trial and error and experimentation. This will give them the confidence to approach any problem systematically and take decisions independently. Here are some examples of math activities that can be incorporated into your child’s daily life; 

  • Arrange books according to their height. 
  • Count the number of chocolates in the fridge. 
  • Sort clothes while doing laundry according to the type of clothing
  • Cut a birthday cake into equal parts and share it among friends (Cutting a cake requires parental supervision)
  • Help them pair their shoes and arrange them in your shoe rack.

Builds Conceptual Thinking 

Let us suppose that your child learns numbers; merely rote counting from one to hundred will not help your child understand the concept of number, instead associating a  quantity along with a number say ‘three apples’, ‘four cars’ helps them to make meaningful connections. Say you drop three objects of different sizes into the water a child observes that a few sink and the rest float and by this visual observation children learn the concept of size and weight. Math opens up arenas for children to conceptually understand several aspects unlike rote learning that focuses on memorization. 

Builds Life Skills 

Math is much more than a mere subject; it is a life skill. There are several activities like learning to read time, sorting objects  or saving money in a piggy bank that help children in organizing the world around them and building essential life skills. These skills turn children into independent thinkers and problem solvers. Kutuki’s  story titled ‘Sana and the Giant Stick’ teaches us how little Sana, when unable to reach the apple on a tree, makes a stick tall enough to reach the apple by putting smaller branches together. This math based story teaches children important concepts about estimation, length, measurement and most importantly the ability to use mathematical thinking to solve real life  problems independently.

Several children develop a severe phobia towards math because they are conditioned to think of math as complex formulas and equations. Introducing math at an early age can help children develop a positive attitude towards math through constant experimentation, trial and error through everyday experiences. This will help them less fearful of the outcome and instead enjoy the process of applying mathematical thinking. 

Predecessor For Success
Early educators believe that teaching math effectively contributes to your child’s academic success. Certain activities like counting, sorting, measuring, comparison may look simple, but they are foundational skills that contribute to academic success in the future. It can help children count faster, think critically,  estimate the situation around them, answer logically and much more. At Kutuki, we ensure that through Kutuki’s Interactive Math Program your child has a strong foundation in math in a developmentally appropriate and interactive way. 

Now that you know that Math is as important as reading skills in a preschool curriculum, it is crucial that you find the right early learning experts to guide your child in their learning journey. Kutuki’s Interactive  Math Program is designed by India’s best early educators to ensure that learning is developmentally appropriate, practical and fun. 

Join Kutuki’s Math Program today! If you want to know more about Kutuki’s Interactive Math Program , send us a Whatsapp message

Download the Kutuki App Now! (Kutuki for Android and Kutuki for IOS

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Made for India Maths

Three Activities That Can Make Early Math Fun

There are certain foundational mathematical skills that preschoolers should develop before entering primary grade. The main objective of introducing early math is to help our little learners organize the world around them.

We may not realise this but there are many day to day experiences in which preschoolers encounter math. Sorting their toys, stacking books, matching their shoes, sharing food equally with friends or estimating how tall a stool they need to reach their favorite sweet dabba; are all everyday activities that use a mathematical skill to arrive at a solution.

Preschool children do develop math skills naturally, but there are also several guided activities that can open their mind to a variety of math based skills. In this blog, Kutuki’s team of early educators have curated activities aligned to specific math concepts that you can try with your children at home.

Before we jump into the activities, we’re listing down the important early math concepts that are developmentally appropriate for preschoolers to know before they enter primary grade :

Number Sense – Number Sense refers to the ability to count fluently. It includes concepts like counting, number identification, understanding bigness and smallness of numbers, adding and subtracting.

Patterning – Pattern Prediction is nothing but identifying and replicating repetitive objects like shapes, images, numbers or other similar objects. You can also watch our beautiful story ‘Match the Ice-Cream’ which explains the concept of patterns in a fun and thoughtful way. Download the Kutuki App now ! (Kutuki for Android or Kutuki for IOS

Spatial Sense– The concepts like shape identification, differentiation, size, volume and position come under this category. These are aimed at inculcating the concept of spatial awareness to preschool children. 

Measurement – As the title suggests, under measurement children learn to explore the length, height, weight of different objects without getting into the units of measurement. 

Sorting and Matching- Sorting, Classifying and Matching helps children to gather objects based on similarities or differences and categorize them into groups. It helps them to organise things around them. 

Now that we know  some of the most important concepts of early math, let’s  take a look at all the activities  that can help your child learn early math skills in the most natural and engaging way.

Pegs and Popsicles 

Here’s the perfect activity for you. All you need is just a few coloured paper cut into small circles, a handful of popsicle sticks and some pegs. Now, cut small circles out of the coloured papers. Once they are done, stick one circle on a popsicle stick, stick two circles on another stick and continue this process until you stick ten circles on a popsicle stick. The idea behind this activity is to ensure that your child  can learn to count with the help of the circles and place the peg while counting the number out loud. Let’s suppose that your child picks the popsicle stick with eight circles; they will automatically understand that they will have to place a peg for each circle. In the process they will count out the number aloud while placing peg on the popsicle stick. In this way they will be able to connect a number to its quantity.

Shapes with Bindis

What if we told you that you could learn shapes through something that is readily available in the dressing table of most Indian homes. With bindis, you can teach your child shapes in the most interesting way. Try to pick up bindis with different shapes, sizes and colours too.They can be triangular, rectangular, semicircle, square or circle. You can perform the sorting and matching activity with bindis. For children under four, use only one variable to sort the bindi i.e. you can teach your child to sort the bindis by colour.  For kids above the age of four, use two variables such as colour and shape and perform the activity, i.e. you can ask them to put all the round red bindis together and so on.

You can also check out our story “Priya’s Live for Bindis” on the Kutuki App, where little Priya learns to sort and match bindis of different shapes and colours with her mom. Download the Kutuki App (Kutuki for Android and Kutuki for IOS) now and start to watch our story today. 

Watch the story ‘Priya’s Love for Bindis on the Kutuki App now. 

Shapes out of straws

This activity  requires very little material and preparation time. All you have to do is take some A4 size sheets and draw shapes like square, rectangle, triangle, pentagon and so on.  Make sure you draw only one shape on each paper. Now take different coloured straws and cut them into different sizes. You can cut it into any size you like and keep them ready. Now provide the sheet with the shape drawn to your child and ask them to place the straw on the outline of the shape. At every stage, guide them to place the straws on the outline of the shape so that the shape is recreated out of straws. This activity will  help children in understanding and recognising shapes and build spatial sense. 

Sounds interesting right? Follow these activities and let us know your feedback. If you are looking for more math lessons and activities with expert guidance, enroll into  Kutuki’s Interactive Math Program for children from ages 3-7 years. New batches for Kutuki’s Live Phonics and Math Programs are open. Drop us a Whatsapp Message and speak with our Academic Counselor today.

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Maths Phonics

Four Unique Activities to Teach Your Child Sight Words

We often tend to forget that early learning can be so much fun and engaging when one moves away from the monotonous methods. The land of early learning is flexible; it allows you to teach one individual concept in a million ways.  In this blog, we are going to share multiple strategies for you to introduce Sight words to your child.

Let us first understand what Sight Words are and why it is important to learn them. Sight words are commonly occurring words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole, by sight, without sounding out each letter individually. 

For example, the sight word ‘the’ is not sounded out as /t/ /h/ /e/individually  but as  /the/ as a whole

They are also called tricky words or high frequency words. Kutuki’s experts have created a list of important sight words that preschoolers can be introduced to. These sight words are taught in Kutuki’s Phonics Program :

Sight words can be automatically recognized in print without having to use any strategies to decode. Recognizing sight words help preschoolers become faster and more fluent readers since they are found in story books, early reader’s texts, rhymes and much more.

To support preschool educators and parents, we are sharing creative and developmentally appropriate strategies for you to teach your child sight words

Before we start, here are some important points you must keep in mind before you introduce sight words to a child.

  1. You must start teaching sight words only after your child can recognize and name all the lower-case letters of the alphabet. 
  2. You can ideally start teaching sight words from the age of four. 
  3. Always remember to teach one sight word at a time. 
  4. Do not break a sight word into individual letter sounds but instead sound it out as a whole. For example, the sight word ‘the’ is not sounded out as /t/ /h/ /e/individually  but as  /the/ as a whole

These activities have been recommended by our Phonics experts at Kutuki based on methods and that have been tried and tested. These can be easily implemented at home with minimal resources.

Sensory Tubs

Sensory tubs are a great way to introduce sight words kinesthetically. This will help children touch, feel and connect with the form of these words and build recall quickly.For this activity, you need a tub or a box of any size. You can then fill it with dried oats, puffed rice, rava (semolina) or salt. Once you have added your base, you can call out a sight word and ask your child to trace the sight word with their fingers or you can add letters in the tub and ask them to find the letters and sound out the sight word as a whole. You can repeat this activity with several words of your choice. It’s simple and fun. 

Skills you’ll learn: Promotes Motor Skills, Language Development and Cognitive Growth. 

Word Cubes

This is a little DIY activity that you can do with your child. You must first make a medium-sized cube. You can either take any old cardboard box and wrap it with colourful paper all around with the help of a tape. Once your cube is ready, write down the sight words of your choice on all sides of the cube, just like the one below. 

Here’s how you must use the word cube. Your child can roll the cube like a dice and sound out the sight word that comes up as a whole. This sight word  activity will be incredibly fun in a classroom setting, but we also have a fun worksheet to implement this in a virtual preschool setting as well. Here is a sample.

Skills you’ll learn: Reading fluency, spelling skills and social interaction.

Squishy Bags

One of the most exciting ways to learn sight words would probably be through Squishy Bags.Take a ziploc bag and fill it with rice, coloured salt, shaving cream or coloured thermocol balls. Go ahead and get as creative as possible here! You can then pick a few sight words of your choice and play the game in two ways; 

  • Add cutouts of letters in the squishy bag and jumble them up. Call out a sight word. Ask the child to find the letters that form the sight word and bring them together  with their fingers and call it out as a whole.
  • You could also read out a sight word and ask your child to trace it out.

Squishy bags are quite flexible and you can use them multiple times.

Skills you’ll learn: Finger strength, hand-eye coordination, pre-writing skills.

Sight Word Sentence Starter!

This is a great activity to apply sight words in everyday conversation. Once your child has learnt a few sight words, demonstrate how you can use it in a sentence and then ask your child to make up their own sentence too. 

E.g. Parents / Educators can say, “This is how I use you in a sentence – You are my sister!”  

       Can you try using ‘you’ and make your own sentence?

Using sight words in the context of a sentence is sure to help your child apply it meaningfully  in everyday conversation with friends and family.

Still, wondering how to get started on your child’s learning journey? 

Join Kutuki’s Phonic and Math Live Program. One of the greatest yet effective ways to ensure that your child is on the right track is to enrol in Kutuki’s  Phonic and Math Live Program

When you enrol in Kutuki’s program you can get access to some of Kutuki’s most loved learning material and also a free subscription to the Kutuki App! (Kutuki for Android and Kutuki for IOS)  

WhatsApp us to speak to our Academic Counselor today! 

Download the Kutuki App Now! (Kutuki for Android and Kutuki for IOS

If you follow any other unique methods to teach sight words, comment them down below! 

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Maths Phonics

The Top Three Questions on Blends and Digraphs

I’m sure you’ll agree that teaching English is not as straightforward as we think. Reading is an acquired skill and it takes systematic strategies, multisensory resources and regular practice to develop fluency. Phonics is a powerful tool to teach Reading systemically and within Phonics instruction, one cannot exclude Blends and Digraphs as an important component for building phonetic vocabulary. 

Our experts at Kutuki recommend that before you teach blends and digraphs, ensure that your child can clearly distinguish between sounds of different vowels and consonants. Read on to find out!

Q1)What is the difference between a Blend and a Digraph? 

One of the most frequently occurring questions is the difference between a Blend and a Digraph. It is highly important for you to know the difference between these two terms. A blend is when two consonants come together and each of them retains its individual sound. In simple words, when put together, letters in a blend maintain their sounds. Let’s take the example of the word ‘stick. In this word,/st/ is a blend and that is because the sound of /s/ and /t/ can be heard distinctly as separate phonemes. In other words, the two letters are heard as two separate sounds. 

One the other hand, a digraph is when two letters come together to make a completely new sound. This can be explained with the help of an example. Let’s take the word ‘show’. When you teach and sound out the word, you do not say /s/ /h/ individually but as a whole i.e. /sh/ as in show. 

Hence, there stands one clear distinction between blends and digraphs. A blend when combined retains its original sounds, but a digraph produces a new sound. 

Q2) What are the most common blends and digraphs and where do I start? 

To start off , one must remember that there are no predefined rules or an order to teach both blends and digraphs. Our experts at Kutuki recommended that before you teach blends and digraphs, ensure that your child can clearly distinguish between sounds of different vowels and consonants. It is crucial that they also understand how to blend individual sounds to form CVC words. After that you can explore blends and digraphs as mentioned below :

BLENDS

When you teach blends, always start with the most commonly occurring blends i.e. ‘S,’ ‘L’ and ‘R’ blends. You will often hear the term ‘consonant blend’. It is when two or more consonants are blended, but each consonant’s sound is heard in the blend. 

The most common consonant blends include; 

S-blends 

st: star, stop 

sl: sleep, slip 

sp: spider, spot 

sm: small, smart 

sp: space, spoon 

L-blends 

fl: flag, flip

bl: black, blue 

cl: clap, clue 

gl: globe, glue 

pl: play, plate 

R-blends 

fr : frog, fruit

gr : grass, green

cr : crown, crab

tr : tree, trip 

dr: drum, dress

Blends usually appear at the beginning of a word like blow, glass, please. For children, blends are difficult to pronounce in isolation. Hence, it is best to slide to a vowel sound right away to make it easy for them. Remember to go as slow as possible and give your child enough time to practice each blend. 

DIGRAPHS 

We now know that a digraph is two letters that come together to make a new sound.

The sound that is created by a digraph is called a diphthong. 

Usually, digraphs must be taught once your child can distinguish the sounds of consonants and vowels. You can start teaching your child with the most commonly occurring digraphs ‘ch’ ‘sh’ ‘th’ and ‘wh’ consonant digraphs. Let us look at the examples for each of these digraphs

-sh – ship, sheep 

-ch – chair, chain 

-th – think, thumb 

-wh – when, where 

To help your child learn these consonant digraphs in a fun way, watch the story  Mr. h and his four Best Friends’ on Kutuki for Android or Kutuki for IOS today.

Q3) How should I teach blends and digraphs? 

Every child is unique and preschoolers, especially, develop at their own pace. It is important to give them their space to explore and experiment while also supporting them with guided instruction especially for an acquired skill like reading. 

Explicit phonics instructions in many ways provide clear direction to a child for what a blend and digraph sound like. It is important to use multisensory aids such as alliterative rhymes and stories, observing lip movements to sound out the blend or digraph, pictorial representations, flashcards, cue cards and a range of games that will allow children to apply their learning.

We hope this blog has given you the answers and effective tips to teach your child blends and digraphs and get them started on their reading journey.

Want to learn blends and digraphs from the experts? 

Join Kutuki’s Live Phonic and Math Program today! Call now and  enquire about Kutuki’s Live Phonics and Math Program, please send a WhatsApp message and speak to our Academic Counselor.

Download the Kutuki App either from Kutuki for Android or Kutuki for IOS today and free yourself from the fuss of teaching your child phonics.

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Maths

Powerful ways to overcome the fear of Math

When I was a child, I was terrified of Maths the way some people are terrified of heights or being stuck in a narrow elevator or being attacked by a gang of bees. I was phobic. Maths-phobic.

This seems strange in retrospect, because as an adult I use maths a lot, and use it reasonably well. I calculate my taxes correctly, I draw household budgets, and I compute taxi fares based on distance and rates pretty fast in my head. In other words, I turned out ok at maths.

So why was I so scared of math and numbers?

Maybe it was because no one told me what the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears was really about.

Huh? What does an old European fairy tale have to do with maths and my childhood fear of numbers? Stay with me to find out. I’m going somewhere good with this, I promise. When we read the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with our children, we think it is about many things. It is about a girl’s curious discovery of a cottage in the woods. It is about her finding just the right sized chair to rest in, the right porridge to eat and the right-sized bed to sleep in! It’s about the thrilling imminent danger of being discovered by the three bears, and Goldilocks’ escape from the forest.

But there is one important aspect of the story that we don’t immediately catch onto, which in fact, is one of its primary themes. Goldilocks and the THREE Bears is also a story about counting. It’s about counting to three, in specific. The story features three beds, three chairs, three bowls of porridge, and three bears. Again and again, Goldilocks counts up to three objects. When they discover her trespasses, the bears each complain about the three eaten bowls of porridge, the three sat-in chairs, and the three slept-in beds.

The tale is told in this way to establish a cognitive recall of the number three for most children. While we are on the subject of mathematical concepts as themes, Goldilocks and the Three Bears is also about qualitative comparisons. A chair is too big, a bed is too narrow, and so on. It encourages a child to move beyond cardinality or pure numbers into the realm of comparative analysis, the jump a young learner makes to start thinking in terms of one and many, large and small.

But who would have thought the story of Goldilocks had maths in it? We don’t make that association easily because we are conditioned to think of maths and stories as the opposite ends of the learning spectrum.

Like many learners, I learnt best through stories, but no one around me was putting maths in a story. On the contrary, I was being told that the faculty for maths and the faculty for storytelling belonged in different galaxies altogether. If I didn’t understand maths as hard numbers, I just wasn’t “mathematical” enough. No wonder I started to sweat at the thought of subtracting three digit numbers!

I’m happy to report now that these stereotypes about maths and stories are exactly that. Stereotypes. Maths and stories aren’t unrelated concepts but instead two versions of the same impulse: to make sense of the vast, unknowable world that crouches over us.

We tell stories to establish meaning in chaos. And we quantify for the exact same reason. We number time into days and hours to deal with its infinity. We tell stories about where we came from, and where we are going. We count. We tell stories. We make patterns. We are creatures who crave narrative. Without our stories, we are nothing. So essential is storytelling to our survival as a species, that the brains of children and grown-ups have evolved to learn through narrative structure.

That is the first reason storytelling is a great learning tool for maths. The other?

Stories are fun! They have imagination, humour and ups and downs that hook the learner and set her imagination ablaze. They inspire emotion and thought. Stories stick around in your head. Who wants to get up and walk away from the grip of a cracking yarn?

As a writer of educational content for preschool children between ages 2 and 7, I keep dipping for inspiration into the narrative-math continuum! When told as a narrative, Maths is immediately relatable, especially for early learners who are both highly visual and interested in stories. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of using stories to help early learners understand math concepts. Stories are the bridge that can take your child from simply mugging up numbers to actually understanding how counting works in real life!

The Hand Monster

The “Hand Monster”

One example: Recently I wrote a few scripts teaching early learners how to count. In one of these scripts, The Hand Monster, which is about how to count to Five, a small boy imagines his hand as a famished five-horned monster who won’t stop at eating five of anything. Five rocks, five laddoos, five leaves — everything is game for the hungry beast. I tried to put classic storytelling elements — fantasy, role play, humour, a plotted adventure — in a Maths story to make it more absorbing.

I wrote it for my inner math-phobic child. You can watch this story on the Kutuki App with your child/ niece/ inner math-phobic child to see if it works!