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Next To: Who Is Next to the Firefighter?

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematical thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
Grades:
Subjects:
Mathematics (5,031)

Next To: Who Is Next to the Firefighter?

Purpose/Skills

  • To experience the concept of being next to another person or object
  • To be able to talk about someone who is next to, on one side of, and on the other side of

Materials
Items that children can use to represent occupations: fire fighter hat, pretend menu for waiter, pad and pencil for store clerk, spatula for cook, paper thermometer for nurse, book for librarian, etc.; children's books about occupations

Vocabulary
next to
on one side of
on the other side of

Literature Suggestion
Read books that tell about occupations such as A Trip to the Firehouse by Wendy Cheyette Lewison, The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca, and Corduroy by Don Freeman. Help children identify the occupations of the book characters.

Warm-Up
Help each child represent a different occupation from books, such as the guard or the saleslady in Corduroy, or the occupations of people they know.

Procedure

  • Have each child represent a different occupation. Invite the nurse to stand up. Demonstrate the concept of next to by inviting the fire fighter to stand next to the nurse. Ask the group, "Who is next to the nurse?" (the fire fighter) Then demonstrate the meaning of on the other side of. Ask the cook to stand on the other side of the nurse. Ask the group, "Who is on the other side of the nurse?" (the cook) Continue the activity with three other children, including the phrase on one side of. Ask a child to stand on one side of another child. Then ask a child to stand on the other side of the child.
  • Once children understand the concepts, insert new directions such as, "The cook needs to stand on one side of the bookcase. The waiter needs to stand on the other side of the bookcase. The fire fighter needs to stand next to the waiter."
Enrichment
Invite more than three children to stand in a row. Give directions and help children arrange themselves. Examples: "The doctor needs to stand next to the cook. The fire fighter needs to stand on the other side of the cook." Then have children take turns giving the directions.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can easily demonstrate next to, on one side of, and on the other side of.
  • In Process - Child participates and can demonstrate next to, but needs help to demonstrate on one side of or on the other side of.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not demonstrate next to, on one side of, or on the other side of.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.
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