Data Management before kindergarten?

One of the most important skills we learn is how to process information. And in this day and age of information overload, this skill has become more and more important!


Let’s look at the underlying skills:

Matching, Sorting, Counting and Graphing


Matching

Children will match items that have meaning to them – colour, size and shape. For example, all the red cars, all the big books, all the round things.


When they begin to match several objects they have progressed to sorting


Sorting

Sorting helps children to judge and observe how objects are alike and different. This skill is important in early literacy – recognizing letters and numbers.


There is no one way to sort items. What may seem haphazard to you could have strict rules that the child has developed. It is important to ask them to explain their choices!


It is generally recognized that there are three steps for sorting:

1. decide on the attribute or characteristic

2. physically sort items

3. being able to explain your rationale or rules of sorting.


For example, when sorting buttons, the child could choose to use the number of holes in the buttons rather than the colour or the size. A great demonstration of critical thinking.



Here are some ways to practice sorting:

• laundry – colour or by the person it belongs to?

• packing laundry into correct drawers or cupboards

• sorting toys

• crayons – size, colour or broken ones?

• silverware


Counting

The easiest way to make sense of your matching and sorting is by... counting! We have shared many great activities related to counting in our previous blog.


Graphing

How to manage the data that you have discovered in your counting?


The simplest way to illustrate it is to make a bar graph. This can be done very simply by drawing columns on a large piece of paper or cardboard and making rows of the items according to their attributes.


For example, all the black shoes in one row, the brown in another and the red in the third row.


Items can then easily be counted and conclusions are drawn. We have more black shoes in the cupboard than brown shoes.


To keep it interesting, try and graph people’s opinions and preferences.

  • What flavour of ice-cream is the favourite in your family?

  • What is your favourite kind of cookie?

  • What is the most common hair colour, eye colour, shirt colour, pants colour?

  • Do people like cats or dogs better?

Counting is important here – help your child develop a tally method = it could just be a simple check mark in the correct column


Remember to ask for the conclusion of the survey and discuss reasons for the numbers

More people have brown hair than blonde hair…


All this work will pay off – your children will be better able to organize information, compare attributes and characteristics and solve problems. They are on their way to managing data…