We've always enjoyed matching work in our home. It started with Otis matching real items and them moving onto matching with cards. One thing I've failed to mention is that the child should already be familiar with the item before introducing the model. These birds are a great example, with the exception of the penguin we can see them all locally. Mainly we've matched fruit, vegetables, household items and animals. There are many cards available but I have on occasion photographed and made our own cards. Now Otis finds this level of matching easy but he still likes it and often chooses it from his shelves. Why? And why is it good for their brain development?
- It brings about deep concentration which is calming and deeply satisfying for the child.
- It provides an opportunity to master a skill and through repetition they can demonstrate a mastery of that skill.
- It allows a child to demonstrate their knowledge. Activities like this can also be lessons in vocabulary, for a child matching local birds this is also an opportunity for the child to demonstrate their knowledge in the names and sounds of the birds.
- It can also provide the child the opportunity to further their knowledge and then demonstrate that knowledge in a particular/specialised area of interest, for example a child learning, naming and matching dog breeds.
- For a child matching cards it demonstrates they are capable of making the connection between the real item, the model item and the pictorial representation.
- It helps a child find order in the world around them. To understand categories which also helps them to understand their place in the world.
- It provides an immense opportunity for the transfer of knowledge. By observing to see when the child is ready for more information, activities like this can be the instigator for further information. A child may become interested local birds which could develop into the transfer of knowledge regarding local habitats and selecting suitable plants for the garden.
- It provides the child the opportunity to think and reason, which may later transfer to other activities and behaviours.
- The child is given the opportunity to problem solve. Questioning and asking themselves with the satisfaction of finding the result - the answer. I love to watch Otis and his eyes as they flick over all the cards as he is looking for the match and then seeing the internal satisfaction of him finding and making the match.
- The child is using their developing memory, utilising their ability to store, organise and retrieve information, recall information in relation to something they have seen before.
- The first three years are a critical time for brain development. Activating neural networks = exercising the brain during a critical time of growth. Stimulate the young neurons and connections in the toddler's brain, also a way to provide sensory input.
- Experiences play a role in cognitive development, however the brain can only develop when the child is ready. Therefore it's important that activities like this are used during the child's sensitive period.
- Although Otis will often do this work alone, when this work is done with a parent or caregiver it can provide 5 to 10 minutes of together, collaborative time.
I'm sure there are many more reasons why matching work is important. My previous posts on matching work include Matching Work and Cognitive Development, Matching Work, Montessori has no limits and Matching Socks.