This month we will begin to understand classification. Classification is sorting and grouping objects based on the similarities and differences of the attributes of those objects. When children know the vocabulary and understand the concepts of attributes and spatial relationships – concepts we explored in September and October – they are ready to take what they know about similarities and differences and sort and classify materials. Children will need plenty of practice grouping and regrouping materials. This will occur naturally as they become aware of multiple attributes. You can help by providing opportunities for them to sort and classify at home. Take them on nature walks and let them collect leaves, sticks and rocks. They can sort by size, shape, color, type of tree….let them lead the way. Children will need to understand similarities and differences to create patterns and make set comparisons – which we will do in December. This process also involves a very important part of your child’s brain development – metacognition. This is the “way we think about thinking”. Metacognitive processes are central to planning, problem solving, and evaluation. Ask your child to describe to you the reason they sorted their pile the way they did. Did they make groups by color? Did they make groups by size? How did they decide to make the groups the way they did? Metacognition helps a developing brain begin to be able to process abstract concepts – which in turn helps with higher learning.
You can support this important process by using math language as you sort objects with your child. The following is a list of key words to use as you work together:
alike different not set sort classify group regroup shape color member same size