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.
As well as numeracy, it helps skills such as problem solving, understanding and using shapes and measure and developing their own spatial awareness. It helps them to recognise, create and describe patterns, which is essential for early problem solving skills.
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, for maths these are:
- 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.
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”