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Purple Mash

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Maths Learning Home

Young children are learning maths all the time through a wide variety of play experiences and everyday life. Through play children will begin to:

• know and understand early maths language of measurement, shapes, spaces, positions, early numbers, order and patterns

 • know the sequence of numbers

• begin to understand positional words, e.g. in, on, outside

 • show an awareness of time

 • be aware of shapes in their environment

 • be aware of 1-to-1 correspondence

 • acquire new vocabulary

 • learn number rhymes and songs, e.g. one, two, buckle my shoe etc

When we say a child “knows her numbers” what we often mean is that she can recite the names of numbers in ascending order. This is quite useful to be able to do, but it means very little in itself. Children need to come to know what the number system really means. They can be helped to do this through play. One of the first things they have to learn is about conservation – that 3 is always 3 no matter how it is arranged or presented, whether it is the number 3, the letters for three, 3 bricks, 3 buttons on a coat or 3 Billy Goats Gruff. Before a child can understand numbers for things that can be seen – 3 miles, 3 years old – s/he needs real objects which can be seen and handled with a chance to check that the count is right each time.

 Young children have many mathematical experiences in their home environment. For example:

• they learn about money as they go shopping with parents

• become aware of numbers as they count the stairs to bed

• start to understand the concept of time as they become familiar with the routine of their day – wash, dress, breakfast etc.

A child’s daily life offers many practical opportunities to learn about number, shape, space, sorting and matching. For instance:

 • setting places at the table – a cup for me, a cup for you

 • playing with water

 • steering the pram

 • helping to sort the washing, matching socks, big shirt / small shirt

 • tidying up – putting similar items together

 • matching lids to saucepans

Remember that maths is all around us! We can see shapes in the buildings, on signs and in our cars. Numbers can be seen everywhere on road signs, walks, number plates and leaflets. We take this approach in our unit by ensuring that mathematics is all around, in all areas of provision!

Within the unit we also have a dedicated maths area, where the children can role play with money, make patterns and explore numbers. We value the children's input greatly and the area changes with their interests. All children get the opportunity to bake so are practically weighing and dividing. The snack table, sand and water areas offer open ended opportunities for capacity. The FS2 children (Reception) also have discrete adult led maths sessions each day. Numbers are introduced to FS1 children (Nursery) through number songs, small number problems and through the opportunities for exploring maths within the provision both indoors and outdoors.

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