Finding Patterns: Why it’s Crucial for Your Child to Recognize Patterns

We don’t watch that much TV at home, even if it’s on, it’s usually Sanj engrossed in My Little Pony, not the kids. But, sometimes, I use TV as a tool to get things done.

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We were watching Team Umi Zoomi the other day on Amazon Prime. As I was doing dishes, I could hear Serena answer their questions and see the boys dance every time a song played.

I noticed that Serena did not always answer the pattern questions correctly. Which is not cool. Not cool at all because recognizing patters is major in developing math skills later in life.

And I totally don’t care because I don’t know math and had lots of trouble getting through Geometry in high school (and turned out just fine!); but I do care because math is a life skill.

Counting, seeing relationships between elements, and sequencing or the staircase pattern discussed here (so understanding stories as they grow older) are all impacted by recognizing patterns.

Even further, it helps build human relationships as you learn the nuances of pattern in people’s behavior. Directions are also impacted by pattern recognition. If you ask me the street names of how to get to Target, I won’t really know. But, I do know that it’s a right, right, left, and then you’re at the store.

Robert Duin and Elzbieta Pekalska discuss the importance of pattern recognition and acquiring knowledge. In their paper titles The Science of Pattern Recognition, Achievements and Perspectives, they say (p 11)

Knowledge is very often structural and has thereby qualitative nature.

And that the (p 30)

Recognition of patterns and inference skills lie at the core of human learning… These processes of abstraction and concept formation are necessary for development and survival.

I know that’s kind of crazy to think that something so basic as recognizing patterns can impact development tremendously; but research has proved just that.

In fact, High Scope early childhood specialist, Suzanne Gainsley explains, ” Discovering and differentiating these characteristics is a first step in classification, or sorting– and important part os preschoolers’ science learning and discovery.

So, while it doesn’t seem like a big deal that she isn’t answering the pattern questions correctly, it does raise a little red flag for me to keep practicing with her.

Here are a few things that you should look out for when introducing patterns:

$ Can s/he copy and continue the pattern?

$ Can s/he recreate the pattern from memory?

$ Can s/he fix the error in the pattern?

$ Can s/he make his/her own pattern using different materials or pictures?

If you’re like me and want to help your toddler practice identifying patterns, you can buy the complete guide and worksheet set here. Or you can get a free printable for patterns here.

Practicing patterns won’t make you perfect, but it will definitely help you survive and thrive.

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