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HEN the child enters school its number work must of neces
sity be very simple. The time should be devoted largely to getting correct sense training along the line of the relations of quantity.
Ideas of larger and smaller, longer and shorter, and the like, should be the important part. The need at the outset, is to learn, in a simple way, the basis of all arithmetic,—the comparison of quantity, in as many of its forms as possible.
To do this well, one should study the child. Primary teachers of to-day, as a rule, have considerable knowledge of the way the child mind develops. For that reason it is well for parents to leave all early work in numbers, entirely in the hands of the teacher. The trained teacher quickly learns what the child already knows of quantity and numbers and wherein that knowledge may be wrong. She can adapt means to bring about right relations in the child's mind, and lead it into channels that will be valuable to it in the later work.
Some children will be apt in getting hold of the primary work which the teacher gives. Others will not. For those who insist on aiding the latter outside, the following pages on simple number relations are inserted before the work proper begins.
What is outlined here is of necessity merely suggestive. Those intelligent enough to make use of it may find it very helpful. But again; Leave as much of the early number work to the teacher as possible.
IN THE KINDERGARTEN.
KINDERGARTENS are rapidly increasing in favor
in country, notwithstanding the fact that they have been repeatedly ridiculed by some of our leading newspapers as "public nurseries." They have a purpose, and that purpose is to launch the child upon school life naturally and carefully.
The exercises are made so varied and pleasing that the child thinks he is singing, dancing, and playing all the time. He enjoys himself, gets into the spirit of the work and all this time is being drilled for his later tasks in the regular grade work.
Any suggestions that may be made must be very general, for the work here is oral, and therefore diversified. The number work is so mixed with language and reading that it is sometimes not recognized as number work at all. The little one is told a few simple fundamental facts in story form and these facts go to make the foundation of later school work.
Children acquire the a b c of number work very slowly. A common error is to hurry the child on before the primary processes are well fixed in his mind. It is wrong to take it for granted that he knows because he knew to-day or yesterday, for to-morrow the same fact may be brought up and be new to him.
If no other idea is brought out in this chapter let it be that haste should be made very slowly at this stage of school life. Go over the work again and again and drill, drill, drill, being careful always to avoid making the drill monotonous.
In the kindergarten the child develops his senses of sight, hearing, and touch. He gets the relations of
equality by comparing objects. He notes likenesses and differences and proceeds to tell the teacher all about what he finds.
The teacher's sole duty is to make the discoveries easy for her charge. The best teacher is the one who makes the work a pleasure. She has the little one handle solids, has him note the colors, has him pick out similar and unlike objects, has him cut and paste, has him build, draw, sound; in fact has him do anything and everything that may train his senses of touch, sight, and hearing. Her business is to get the child ready for school work.
The suggestions given in the subsequent pages on primary work should be followed and short stories told the child.
A KINDERGARTEN STORY.
The story about the circus is a sample of what may be told. It involves the numbers from one to ten. The objects may be counted in the pictures.
Yesterday was circus day. Harry and I went. We bought two tickets. The circus was a large one. It had three big rings. I could hardly see across
the tent. My four cousins saw me but I did not see them.
I liked the trained seals best of all. There were five of them. The clowns were very funny. They
made everybody laugh. One clown counted one, two, three, four, five, six, and then jumped off the tight wire. He did not hurt himself.
The circus had seven elephants this year and eight camels. Last year I rode on I rode on an elephant's back in a basket with eight girls and boys.
elephant must be strong to carry nine people like that.
There were ten little boys I know who could not
go to the circus. They had no money. I feel sorry for them, don't you?
NUMBERS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE.
Teach the child to count 50 as soon as he has started in his number work at school and later on to 100. Objects should be counted at first and then counters substituted, such as pennies, marbles, blocks, beads, etc.
Learning to count 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., parrotlike, does very little good. Rather let the child count objects and point out 5 marbles, 6 blocks, etc., in order that you may determine if he knows exactly what 5 or 6 of anything means.
Fill your hands with blocks or marbles and ask the child to take 3, 5, 7, or any number of them.
Hold up 3, 5, or 6 of them and ask him to tell how many you have. When you are told the number you have, write the figure which tells the number on paper. Have the child copy the figure making a large character.
Reverse the work by writing a figure on paper and asking the child to take the number of blocks the writing asks for.
Spend a few minutes every day in asking him to show you 2 pins, 3 houses, 5 stripes, etc.
Teach him to count.
We can count books, tables, and houses and say that we have counted so many things but we do not add books, tables, and houses. We add books and books, tables and tables, houses and houses.
We count by ones. When we add three beads and two beads we are counting by ones, for it means that we are adding three ones of beads and two ones of beads, making five beads in all.
From 1 to 9 we use only one figure to tell how