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Maths in the Early Years
The maths curriculum is divided into two strands. These are:
Shape, Space & Measures.
In the Nursery, the children begin to develop their skills in counting, recognising numbers and matching numerals to quantities. They also learn about shapes in the environment, their names and their properties.
These skills are developed using practical activities, games and songs.
In Reception, the children start to build on the skills developed in nursery. They will start to explore how to use numbers for addition and subtraction, develop an understanding of place value, how to record numbers and mathematical questions in different ways and how to problem solve. They will also further develop their knowledge of shapes and their properties, and also use mathematical vocabulary to describe measures, such as height and time.
The maths Early Learning Goals for the end of Reception state that;
Number "Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing."
Shape, Space & Measures "Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them."
Ways to help at home
There are lots of things you can do to help your child’s maths skills from a very early age.
Play board games, including dice games
Play simple card games, dominoes, simple ‘Top Trumps’ games
Complete puzzles and jigsaws together
Give your child a set of objects (sweets, pencils, Lego bricks…) and show them how to share them fairly between different numbers of people
Let your child lay the table for meals, counting out the correct number of forks, plates, etc.
Bake together, showing your child how to use scales to weight ingredients
Play games with a score – making a simple tally to see who has won. This can be done with football goals, filling buckets, in fact anything with a score
Look out for numbers in the environment - buses, doors, post boxes, road signs…
When you shop with your child, talk about how much things cost, and show them how you pay and receive change (when using cash!)