The life of me

Maths mastery in The early years!

What’s the best way to learn addition and subtraction other than with real life objects?!

My class have really enjoyed adding pieces of fruit, comparing and sorting different sized buttons, counting magic beans and even different shaped pasta!l this year.

Counting real life objects is a must in the early years before moving into abstract concrete objects just as cubes.

Children will then be able to problem solve by turning the ‘real life object’ from a problem into cubes to work out their answer.

My Reception class have spent a lot of time this year counting different amounts onto 10 frames and exploring the part whole model. This has significantly increased their understanding of number.

For instance the 10 frames have enabled children to realise double facts and number bonds.

I can simply say:

What can you tell me about this number?

The children will come up with a range of responses such as:

8 and 2 make 10

4 and 4 make 8

1 and 1 make 2

8 is more than 2

2 is less than 8

The part part whole model has also helped children with their number bonds and understanding.

The children can explain different ways of making numbers up to 10 and some children now can automatically say the facts and use them in different problems – they have mastered it!!!

Introducing 10 frames, real life objects and part part whole models can really embed the essentials needed for children to reach great success in maths in year 1 and beyond.

Completing maths mastery means you allow time for the children to practise and you continue to review what is needed despite the curriculum content.

Would you rather continue to embed and practise the skills or just move on with children only gaining little knowledge of it anyway?

I am completing a masters dissertation this year all about the impact it can have on children in the Early Year’s, so keep posted!

The NCETM and maths hub also have a range of great resources that you can use for free too.

The bbc number blocks are also great and I will be separately blogging about that too. Keep an eye out on these little people!


8 thoughts on “Maths mastery in The early years!

  1. My daughter has been through the nyc public school system, and though she is more than competent at math, I think she learned things in an odd manner. Too much time spent on show your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes quite often it’s all rote learning which doesn’t lead to deep understanding in maths. That’s how children easily forget and can’t apply it to different contexts! I was taught like that too! And only now teaching it in this way are things actually making sense! 😂it’s crazy how it has such an impact on you. Thank you for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. See, I think it’s the opposite. I made my daughter memorize the times table and I think that saved her. I understand in theory why you need to look at different ways to solve a problem, but I don’t think it’s the best method for a lot of kids. 5×5 is 25 because it is. Once you’ve shown them five groups of five, half the kids are solid on the idea. The rote is ok for some kids. How can you take points away from my kid on a question when she figures out the right answer in her head? And like I said, my kid is a really strong math student but she should be even better than she is. It’s counterintuitive because sometimes you have to give kids room to logic it out. And I know 8 sound like the stereotypical old person, but there you go

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes definitely I get what you mean. But learning the facts fluently should be the end point not a first point. By memorising the time tables all children know is the fact but do they actually know what it means? Can they imagine what 5 times 5 actually looks like on their head? How many rows? What the value of it is? Or do they just know it because they are told so? That’s a great different between memorisation and actually knowing and understanding a fact. So being able to show it and prove it and give examples really helps. That’s why children in Singapore can more confidently approach new problems because they haven’t just rote learnt a method they understand the actual method and what they are doing and then they can move onto applying it in any situation in life rather than just seeing it as oh I did that in school for a ‘test’ now I don’t even know how I’d use it in real life. They’re are so many jobs now that really need creativity, mathematics is all about that and understanding the process rather than just getting to an answer. Children will be better equipped if they can do this. I understand your point though and facts do need to be learnt but learnt in a way thats come from understanding.


  2. I love that school are now teaching children a variety of methods to learn “basic” math skills. I just wish they didn’t expect every child to master each method. Different things click for different children. the goal should be finding the strategy that works best for you, and becoming proficient in that method/understanding


    1. Exactly! Teaching methods should be just that. I teach it like that I tell children to use the method that’s best for them. That’s the one they have mastered doing, so thats fantastic! No teacher should make them try to master them all… if they understand the process to the best of he ability that should be fine. I also place questions such as choose your own method to work out the answer and I only push thoughs that I know are just being a bit lazy with one certain method to change methods. I think it’s all about knowing your children well and their abilities. A great thought, thank you 💕


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