Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coin Polishing and spontaneous maths!

I had planned a coin polishing activity for Sweetpea as a Practical Life excercise for this week.

I set it up as follows:

Coins, a paste made from bicarb of soda and water, water for rinsing with a drop of white vinegar added, polishing cloth, an old toothbrush and a glass jar for cleaned coins.

Sweetpea loved this activity! The highlight was the way the coin fizzed as soon as the bicarb reacted with the vinegar!! :-)  It was great for introducing new vocabulary: shiny and dull, scrub, bicarb of soda, polish etc. 

I had not planned any further than just the cleaning, but she started noticing the pictures on the coins, and soon was sorting them enthusiastically. We casually spoke about the National Symbols represented on each, and I was impressed by how quickly she cottoned on to the fact that this is "South Africa's flower/bird/etc". She immediately made the connection that these symbols were similar to the national flag, thanks to the flag crafts we did around the time of the Soccer World Cup.

She sorted the coins according to pictures and size first, and then we arranged them from shiniest to dullest! We also counted each row to see how many of each value there was. I made a point of calling the coins by their value and picture names, eg, "Let's count the 5 cents with the Blue Crane on." At the moment I am not at all concerned about teaching her number symbols - I feel it is far more important to first understand how many five are, than recognising an abstract symbol.

She then decided to stack them, so I just sat back and enjoyed!

After all this we sat back and basked in the glow of all the magnificent learning that had just taken place. These are moments that seem to almost transcend the need for words. There we are, a mama and her daughter, blissfully satisfied, almost as after a wonderful meal, with a knowing little smile around the corners of our mouths, and a glint in our eyes: "I know you know that we know more now than we did before!!"  We were really just in our little house, playing around with some coins, and yet...We were together someplace magical. And I will not trade these moments with my child for ANYTHING in the world - not status or money or pretty shoes or designer clothes or fantastic holidays or to do my grocery shopping at Woolies. I will go threadbare and hungry if only I can continue  feasting on these moments of love, and warm myself at the fire of the light in my children's eyes. And I thank God for a husband that values this, too.  

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