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Delivering numeracy in the Early Years

So with the dust settling from the EYFSP data arrival, I have spent the week looking at numeracy, shapes, spaces and measuring. The data shows that despite the achievement in these areas of the ELGs showing a slight increase (around 2 percentage points better) over the last year, the gap between boys and girls has grown. And more importantly, numeracy and S,S&M lag behind almost every other area of the EYFS, still. All the evidence suggests that we need to change the way we deliver numeracy in the Early Years, and we need to change it sooner rather than later.

the Maths Table is dead, long live the Maths Tables.

numeracy in the Early YearsA single area of the nursery dedicated to doing maths has always missed the point of Maths. It’s not a subject that we reserve for one area of our lives, so why did we ever decide to treat it like this? For a subject that enables children to problem solve, understand the world around them, organise, plan and communicate (as well as do some maths of course), surely we can spare a slightly more than a table in the corner!
Incorporating Maths in everything that children are doing doesn’t always seem easy, and maybe it isn’t until you have started the process. But exposing children to Maths in this way overcomes the problems associated with it seeming boring, hard or scary and means that children don’t get quite so exposed to practitioners dislike of the subject (let us not pretend that we all love it!).

so what can you do to help?

Well there are plenty of solutions on the internet to spice up your Maths delivery, check out what other people are suggesting on pinterest, for example, pinch some ideas from useful groups on facebook, or just use google to find new ideas. You could think about spending your EYPP money (or other money if you have it) on new resources or training to get your staff up to speed with the changing landscape of early years. Let us know in the comments what you have been trying, but please don’t let it be nothing or zero or nought!

If you are interested in a training session in this area, I deliver one about just this topic where I not only explore the value of Maths throughout your setting, I provide a wide variety of practical ways of making this happen. And everyone that has been so far had to agree that Maths really isn’t that scary after all.

About the author: Matt Stanford

Matt Stanford
Matt has been working in education for 10 years, teaching science to all ages from preschool to degree. Before he became a teacher he studied chemistry at Masters level and completed his PhD at The University of Warwick. It was during his time at university that he got involved in outreach work in local primary schools and found his passion for inspiring learning.

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