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Playing With Patterns

Apa Aatiqah is the Grade 00 teacher at Little Folks Preschool in Lenasia, South Africa. She has been teaching at Little Folks for 2 years and uses Learning through Play (LtP) techniques to introduce and consolidate concepts in a fun, interactive way.

The children are working with patterns and Apa Aatiqah uses the Play Box to enhance their understanding. As they take their places on the carpet, she starts the lesson by asking her learners to define a pattern. “It goes over and over and over and over”, they say as they roll their arms over and over and over and over. They watch attentively as Apa Aatiqah shows them a simple colour pattern drawn on paper. Her learners keep one eye on the pattern and one eye on the Play Box elements, which Apa Aatiqah keeps in a large plastic tub at the front of the classroom. As soon as her learners are ready, they race over to the container and take out the corresponding LEGO® DUPLO elements to recreate the pattern. She helps her learners along by building with them and asking them which colour comes next. They correct her as she playfully mixes up her colours to assess their understanding.

Apa Aatiqah gently helps her learners correct themselves when their patterns look different from hers. She starts with simple patterns and progresses to more complex concepts as her learners improve their skills. Her learners help each other through the building process and cheer for their successes. Although her quick, simple activity helps her learners with explicit mathematical concepts, it also improves their colour identification, visual discrimination, fine motor skills, pre-reading, and executive functioning.

She scaffolds her lessons by starting with concrete, playful manipulatives before moving to abstract concepts. Using LtP manipulatives and techniques helps Apa Aatiqah accommodate different learning styles. She often uses the Play Box for a playful approach to help her learners feel at ease for better learning.


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