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Alliance considers everyday early years activities as living maths lessons

© The Pre-school Learning Alliance

New Alliance publication Discovering Maths through Play is a practical resource that seeks to ignite children’s imagination and curiosity, as they develop the early mathematical skills that provide a foundation for their future learning.

A study carried out recently by the Fair Education Alliance (FEA) numeracy group, found that when settings brought maths into everyday activities and real life contexts, children’s development in maths was more successful. Discovering Maths through Playoffers a wealth of activities to enable maths in all areas of the setting and help to overcome the all too common ‘I just can’t do maths’ attitude.

Opportunities for mathematics are found in abundance in an enabling, purposeful early years environment, but are often missed by practitioners themselves. Where this is the case, mathematics tends to be restricted to a limited range of activities.

As a result, the characteristics of effective learning: playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically, are likely to be limited as children are prompted to count objects, recognise shapes and answer closed questions repeatedly such as ‘what shape is this?’ and ‘how many bears are on the scales?’

Discovering Maths through Play will help practitioners to identify and build on opportunities for maths that are readily available in the setting, and gain confidence and skill in one of the EYFS’s four specific areas of learning and development.

Adrian Brindley (Head of Pre-Prep, Bilton Grange Preparatory School, Rugby), in his Foreword for the publication, wrote, ‘Young children have a natural love of number, size and shape as these help them to make sense of the world around them. The role of the adults in their lives is to nurture these positive views of mathematics so that they maintain their enthusiasm into formal schooling and beyond.’