A love for teaching young children

Supporting parents in the educating of their child

Sunday, July 7, 2019

For Christian Schools Parents and Teachers Part One Biblical Worldview and Mathematics

Those who do not believe in God have a secular or world view of life. Those who are believers should have a Biblical worldview or philosophy regarding every facet of daily life. For educators who teach math at any level and age group, how can math be taught from God's Word, from His perspective?

In Part One, I want to focus on 4 cornerstones in worldview and 3 concepts for integration.

First cornerstone in a Biblical worldview towards mathematics is human origin has a starting point but God as Creator and Designer does not. He is infinite and He offers eternal life or eternal damnation. The concept of zero or nothingness suggests there is a Creator who can create things or people by adding us in or taking us away at any given point.

Second cornerstone in a Biblical worldview towards mathematics is human purpose or meaning of life. If He is eternal and offers eternity, there must be a purpose for why He added us into His World, His Creation. All around us we can see His power like effects of hurricane or flood. This past week in the midst of celebrating the 4th of July, there were spotty areas of swift and rapid downpours and flooding near our church. A former attendee who lives about 4 miles north of the church has a bridge connecting her home to the rural road due to a deep creek. The bridge got pulled away. Her family had to be rescued by airboat in order to get them to a safer place. About 4 miles south of the church a Baptist campground has reported getting 6 inches of rain in less than 1 hour. The bridge that campers access to get to the zipline got ripped away and other destruction was scattered around their property. God reminds us of His power over Creation when events happen around us. We aren't in control--He is. Mankind is given stewardship of God's World (Genesis 1). Man is told to rule over earth, subdue it, and to fill it. Stewardship in math includes using our time wisely, understanding our Creator is unlimited, following the rules of truth versus falsehoods, right versus wrong, and there is good versus evil. Math concepts like infinity, power, stewardship, adding/filling, etc. help to clarify our meaning.

Third cornerstone in a Biblical worldview towards mathematics is morality. Breaking or not following mathematic laws/rules leads to bad outcomes with incorrect answers that aren't helpful which lead to frustration, anger, confusion, and/or disappointment. The same happens when God's moral laws are broken. Jesus got angry with money lenders in the temple because of their dishonest money practices (Matthew 21: 12-13). The values of honesty and fairness were not being used.

The fourth cornerstone pivots back to the first one dealing with infinity, which is worldview of man's destiny. Man's destiny can be either eternal life if a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior or eternal damnation in hell if a person rejects Jesus as Savior. Another concept tied into the cornerstone of destiny is reaping what we sow (x + x = ?). My favorite reminder for decision-making and problem-solving is POCS: identify the problem, identify all possible options, consider all possible consequences, and then select a solution. Sometimes how we decide to fix a situation results in failure. Then we are reaping sadness, sorrow, anger or frustration. If we make good choices then we reap happiness and joy. Mark 10: 28-31 is a reference example. Another concept tied to the future is the possibility of a reward of 100 times more to those who sacrifice for God's Glory promised by Jesus. What will be part of our destiny? How will math concepts affect our destiny?

Integrating Biblical concepts in mathematics class starts with recognizing mathematical structure in the creative works of God. Genesis 1:5 speaks of evening and morning defined the 1st day. Genesis 1:8 states the Heaven and firmament were separated to mark the 2nd day of creation. Genesis 1:13 designates the 3rd day with water and land/grasses being divided. Genesis 1:19 reveals that God gave the sun, greater light, to rule the day, and the moon or a lesser light plus stars to rule the night for day 4. Creation advances on day 5 with animals, birds, and creeping things being made in Genesis 1:23. Man and his stewardship mandates to multiply or refill are day 6 of creation as that sections ends with Genesis 1:31. The story of creations extends into chapter 2 stating that God rested on day 7. Think of Him leaning back, relaxing, and looking over everything He had made in the previous days.

More mathematical structure in creation is seen in Psalm 147:4 where David declares God tells the number of stars and can even call them by their names! Isaiah 40:26 rephrases that by stating He who created brings out the host by numbers and calls them by their names. Jeremiah pronounced in chapter 31 verse 37 that the LORD said heaven above can be measured. Wow! Amazing!

A second mathematical concept to Biblically integrate is studies of mathematics reveal intelligent design by a Master Designer/Creator. The key Bible reference for this is Psalm 19:1. The heavens show God's Glory and the firmament reveals His handywork...painstakingly precise details. Values of accuracy, precision, orderliness, and punctuality are vitally important for math rules being followed but are also vitally important in a Christian's life reflecting his/her Creator.

A third mathematical concept to Biblically integrate is being able to see and describe the world in mathematics terms. Job 32:8-9 refers to man having a spirit and is able to get understanding from the Almighty. In the New Testament, I Corinthians 2:14-16 this section mentions that it is not natural for man to be aware of the Spirit (have understanding); however a person can have the mind of Christ, receive the Spirit and thus have understanding to see and describe God's Creation.

Since this blog is devoted to early childhood education, pre-math or early math experiences for very young learners from a Biblical perspective would be noticing the awesome details in nature, those patterns and variety that have been included by the Master Artist, the Master Mathematician! Learning to count, number sense, number symbols using acorns, leaves, berries, and others of nature's gifts are important using realism. Flashcards aren't enough and do not give the opportunities for children to pick up and hold items. Stewardship can be started with counting and caring for class plants and animals. Stress the importance of each child being part of the group. Find ways to tell each child how they add/improve the group by being there. Find ways for them to learn how to describe their world with color names, shapes, lines, textures, and recognizing numbers and patterns. Give them a terrific foundation for mathematical understanding in learning how to see and describe God's creation!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Constructivist science activities on ECE level with water concepts and nature table

photo from www.teachpreschool.org; retrieved online 5/4/2019

"Research and practice suggest that children have a much greater potential to learn than previously thought, and therefore early childhood settings should provide richer and more challenging environments for learning. In these environments, guided by skillful teachers, children’s experiences in the early years can have significant impact on their later learning. In addition, science may be a particularly important domain in early childhood, serving not only to build a basis for future scientific understanding but also to build important skills and attitudes for learning." from Karen Worth's article Fall 2010 "Science in Early Childhood Classrooms: Content and Process"
Science activities that allow children to explore and build their knowledge and skills is the premise for this post:


1.  image from The Mailbox--2nd and 3rd grade level electronic newsletter--water depth and pressure experiment; place a soda 2 liter bottle with 2 holes taped over then filled with water and sealed into a tub kind of bin or pan; remove tapes at same time while asking the children to guess where the water will come from first; and ask them why it happened where it did

2. image from The Mailbox--2nd and 3rd grade level electronic newsletter--condensation phase of water cycle experiment; add water to the fill line on the cup; seal tight in the plastic bag; place in a window that gets good sunlight (solar heat); when will evaporation (and later--how much evaporates) take place...can children see the condensation?

3. the water station exploration activities photo is from www.nstacommunities.org; retrieved online 5/4/2019; children can explore gravity and flow; volume with different sizes of containers and funnels; even a sponge can be saturated and see how much can be squeezed out and measured

4. this next example is not to shame the website Education.com but to show how a worksheet can be the inspiration or springboard for a teacher to guide her/his children's curiosity 

Cut apart the images, laminate or place inside sealed clear plastic bags and display on a wall or tabletop where children can do sink and float comparisons. A bowling ball (pink item with 3 holes) is not practical for an indoor classroom environment so make that one a button; same for the log--impractical but a twig would be ideal; a small apple; a rubber duckie; key; and horseshoe magnet complete the list of items.

 A large clear storage tote filled about 1/3 with water should be enough to either suspend or not these objects.

 Place a large beach towel or shower liner underneath in case a child or two are exuberant with putting items into the water.

 Extend the exploratory time during the next couple of sessions by asking children for suggested classroom items to try. (crayon, pencil, wooden spool vs plastic spool; paper clips of different sizes; plastic lids; etc.)

My understanding and application of the constructivist theories in cognitive development is to allow children opportunities to explore and experiment with the teacher guiding and providing materials first. Then as youngsters are asking questions and showing desire to change, inspect, and analyze, vocabulary, facts, data, and skills can be shared later. For the above sink or float activity, gravity and buoyancy are large words for little ones. How can those be defined in basic terms?

Are daycare centers, preschools, and primary elementary grade classrooms still allowing exploratory learning?

Or has this disappeared under the 'umbrella' of testing and assessment?

Let me know in the comments on how early childhood science is approached.

From the USA heartland,
Becca S

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Constructivist theory in ECE classrooms and is it still being used today

Recently I learned that the teacher education program at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, Ohio promotes Constructivist theory and practices. I was very excited to learn this because I really enjoyed researching about Jean Piaget and Les Vygotsky while getting certified for FACS and working on my master's degree that has an emphasis in early childhood education.

To start my research, I found an article that is a general overview about constructivist practice in the classroom:


From 2017, I have found a response article about an argument within constructivist theories pitting Dewey versus Freire, but the author favors using both:


From 2011, this is another basic overview of how and why constructivism should be used in ECE classrooms. An important phrase that stood out for me as a good reminder of this theory was "trial and error":


Some blogs by teachers that I've enjoyed reading and following are:
a. Prekinders
b. Pre-K Pages
c. Skilled in Second
d. Not So Wimpy Teacher
e. Tara West's Little Minds at Work
f.  Preschool Plan It

*disclaimer: I'm not saying these all support constructivist theory however in the areas of science, math, social studies/community helpers, building, dramatic play, centers and tinkering trays, you will find great ideas. They also have electronic newsletter for updates and often have freebies

Another great teacher/classroom source for ideas come from The Mailbox. They have free electronic grade level newsletters; currently I'm signed up for the preschool age group and grades 2-3.

From Facebook, STEM Teacher Tribe is a great community to join. The grade levels vary but many K-4 and 5-9 as well as math specialists and science specialists, even some technology specialist teachers.

To fully follow constructivism, the teacher needs to be a facilitator and guide, the provider of a huge array of materials that children can explore, build, and collaborate with their peers whether it is putting together a tower, fort, bridge, ramp for cars, etc. Concepts and skills 'accountability' comes through conversations, before and after type KWL charts with either whole group or small groups of children that are interested in a certain topic, etc.

Educators: give me some feedback on your successes and failures with constructivism especially in today's divided school culture between heavy testing and objective stressing versus flexible individualism.

Still in love with all things ECE-related,
Becca S