Blog 'EYMaths Musings'

My class already recognise 1-5... but this is what the scheme says I should be teaching

(Click on 'download external images to see full post)


This term, teaching 'Numbers 1-5' is the focus in many of our most well-known Maths schemes. 

BUT what if you feel that your children already have this knowledge and are ready to move on?


From the posts shared on social media groups so far, there are many of you feeling a little conflicted.

Can you relate?

  • You know that a deep understanding of these numbers is essential for children to progress with fluency and confidence
  • BUT, you may also feel they're ready to move on. You've done so much work on 1-5 last term and you're worried they will become bored and disengaged?


How do you 'square this circle'?


If this resonates with you then read on...

(IMPORTANT: What I'll share with you here will be relevant to you if you teach 3-6 year olds+ too).


To know whether your children really ARE ready to move on, your first question needs to be:

  • What are the...
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Are You Teaching 'Composition of Number' Wrongly? (and how would you know?)

It doesn't matter which Maths scheme you use (or whether you have a scheme in place or not), what matters is what YOU as the educator know (your subject knowledge) and understand (your pedagogy) about the Maths you're teaching and the ways it's most effectively taught.

Think of a scheme as like a recipe book, whereas investing in your knowledge and skills is like going on a cooking course.

Simply buying the latest recipe books will not make you a better cook.

Teaching Maths effectively is just the same.

EYMaths isn't another 'recipe book' instead we aim to offer you the very BEST cookery course you could wish for.

So let's start uncovering what 'you didn't know you didn't know' about teaching 'Composition of Number'.

Understanding the 'Composition of a Number' is what leads to our ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. It's vital we as educators know this is the destination or we may, mistakenly miss that we're providing a vital step here...

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What If Everything You'd Been Told About Teaching Number Sense To Young Children Was Wrong? Part 2


So what is subitising and how does it differ to counting? 

These was a question I asked myself, for a long time.

Subitising is our ability to know ’how many?’ without counting.

It turns out that this is a skill we’re all born with. From a very young age we recognise certain patterns of ‘number’ such as the ‘3’ made up my the human face (but of course we don’t think of it as ‘three’ because that’s a word we haven’t learned yet). We also know when there are more and less of something (such a pieces of fruit for us to eat). This skill of recognise a number pattern (in the case of our main carer’s face) and a larger quantity of food are driven by our primal instinct to keep us alive.

‘Counting’ (for cardinality - to find out ‘how many?’) by contrast is a human creation.

The symbols and names we used were invented and evolved over tens of thousands of years. Our ancestors...

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What If Everything You'd be Taught About How to Teach 'Number Sense' Was Wrong? Part 1

Would you like to know the BIGGEST mistake I ever made in teaching ‘Number Sense’ to my 3-7 year olds?

(And to be fair, I couldn’t have NOT made is because I hadn’t been given the right tools to teach any differently. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.)

I had always believed that it was counting that would enable my children to make sense of how numbers are made up of ‘parts’, how place value (including ‘teen numbers’ of course) work and then calculate (add, subtract, multiply, divide, work with fractions and more). 

Every course, every book, every scheme had taught me this. For over 20 YEARS!

So that’s what I focused upon.

I taught my children to ‘count all’, then ‘count on’. (Whilst at the same time teaching them automatic recall of number bonds without context and by rote, day in and day out).

The result?

I created children whose only strategy for adding and subtracting was to...

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The Reality of Setting up Your Early Years Provision for Next Year

#earlyyears #eyfs Jul 25, 2023

Can you relate?

You have to have been a practitioner yourself to understand the strange, wonderful (and often overwhelming) experience of spending time in your setting without the children.

For those of us who have an extended time away from the children over the summer break, one of the first things on our minds is setting up our environment for the year ahead.


This can typically take one of two forms.

Option 1: You remain in the same room 


Option 2: You inherit a completely new space


Let’s look at option 1 first:

My initial reaction to this scenario was one of total depression and overwhelm.

All year I’d ‘hide’ things that needed properly sorting out promising myself I’d make time during the term to do it and then not. I'd then vow that, once the holidays came, I’d tackle it. 

Come the summer holidays, I’d walk in (with my favourite coffee which I may actually get to drink hot for once!)) and...

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