Mathematics (maths) is an important part of learning for all children in the early years and receiving a good grounding in maths is an essential life skill.
The first few years of a child’s life are especially important for mathematics development. Research shows that early mathematical knowledge predicts later reading ability and general education and social progress. Conversely, children who start behind in mathematics tend to stay behind throughout their whole educational journey.
The objective for those working in Early Years, is to ensure that all children develop firm mathematical foundations in a way that is engaging, and appropriate for their age.
There are Six Key areas of early mathematics learning, which collectively provide a platform for everything children will encounter as they progress through their maths learning at primary school, and beyond.
Rapid recall maths facts and an understanding of number is crucial before children begin to understand calculation. Is vitally important that the children become confident in these early skills before they move onto calculation & writing down number sentences.
These Six areas are
Counting & Cardinality
Shape & Space
(More information on these Six areas can be found on the NCETM website, accessed via this link)
Introducing maths to children from an early age helps to develop their understanding of all elements of problem solving and reasoning in a broad range of contexts. Practitioners need to be able to provide opportunities for children to practice their developing skills and knowledge, so they improve their competence and confidence in using them.
At Hillcross our Maths learning takes place everywhere! We offer the children a balance of Adult directed and Child initiated learning opportunities across the day. The children have the opportunity to consolidate maths skills, previously taught during adult led sessions, in a range of activities and experiences.
Staff ensure the setting's environment (both indoors and out) is full of mathematical opportunities and has exciting things for children to explore, sort, compare, count, calculate and describe. Our aim is to support them to be creative, critical thinkers, problem solvers and to have a go.
Maths and the EYFS
Maths is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Each specific area is divided into Early Learning Goals:
- Numbers - children develop the skill of subitising - 'to see' the numbers before counting them. This embeds a secure understanding of numbers and composition which also supports reasoning skills when applying mathematical concepts
- Numbers - learn to count and the value of numbers, more and fewer, part to whole. These skills support them to solve problems, use money and calculate more or less.
- Shape, Space and Measure - these skills support children to understand size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money and compare quantities, objects and solve problems.
These ELGs will encompass the six Maths areas of learning discussed above and through the development of skills an d understanding of these six areas of Maths the children will [progress and ultimately achieve ELG at the end of Reception.
NCETM materials are used in EYFS to support and compliment the teaching of Maths. These documents can be accessed in attachments below. Alongside these progression grids the NCETM also provide materials that use BBC Number Blocks
The NCETM materials use each episode as a launch pad. They are designed to assist Early Years and also Year 1 practitioners to confidently move on from an episode, helping children to bring the numbers and ideas to life in the world around them. (click photo above to access the NCETM website)
Maths in the Home
Maths is everywhere in the home. With the support of parents, children can grasp many mathematical concepts through their play. So how can you help? The following activities are examples of how you can help develop early Math skills at home;
• Let your child help to pay for things in shops when you’re paying with coins. • Talk about time, such as “How long does it take to get to the park?”.
*Collect everyday items, like milk bottle tops, which your child can sort into colours or sizes and count.
• Let your child help you at home when you’re using numbers, such as measuring ingredients for cooking or measuring for DIY.
• Go on a shape hunt and point out all the shapes you see, such as square windows or round wheels.
• Together, look at numbers on cars, houses, buses or road signs. • Count how many things you see, such as lampposts.
• Play games that involve moving counters backwards and forwards while counting, such as snakes and ladders.
• Play card games where you have to match things, like snap. Also board games are also a great way of developing the 'counting on' skill as they move around the game board.
• Play games such as skittles, where you keep score and count how many are knocked down.
• Use estimates in everyday activities, such as asking “How many cakes will we need if Granny and Grandad come to tea?”.
• Hide objects and use clues to help your child to find them, such as “It’s on top of the table, next to the remote control”
The NCETM recommend Numberblocks as an ideal way to develop key maths skills.