The Importance of Sorting and Classification
Sorting and classification are important cognitive skills for the toddlers in your classroom to learn. Through these processes, toddlers and preschoolers begin to notice patterns and observe similarities and differences. Further development of these concepts leads to developing strong early reading and mathematical skills.
When first teaching children how to sort, start off with a simple lesson that has a clear control of error. All items being sorted should be the exact same except for the one variable they should be sorted by. This Color and Counting Cube Sorting Kit is a great place to start. The kit includes sixty plastic cubes that vary only in color, inviting the child to isolate the color while sorting.
Continue to add complexity to sorting by adding multiple variables to the items being sorted. This Sports tong and sort kit allows children to sort by type of ball into the provided wooden tray.
Once children understand the basics of dividing items by properties they can observe, it is time to introduce more abstract concepts. For example, sorting items by the theme of the four seasons or by Size and Color Dice Sorting adds another level of complexity through lesson extensions.
There are various opportunities to incorporate language and counting into more exercises of sorting and classification. Children will naturally understand how to classify objects through lessons in the classroom, but will begin to make next level cognitive connections with the introduction of vocabulary. Sorting animals by vertebrates and invertebrates or by what continent they live on extends the life of one work within the classroom while teaching children a variety of concepts.
Through these various lessons, children begin to understand naturally that there is more than one way to classify the things we observe in our environment. We may have specific sorting principles we all agree on, such as how we organize the practical life shelf in our specific classroom, but this may vary if children were to enter a different classroom.
Through the natural progression of this concept from concrete lessons to abstract thoughts, children will prepare their minds for bigger concepts within the math, culture and language areas of the classroom.
This week’s worksheet invited children to sort images by season using a four segmented circle.