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Research School Network: NEW GUIDANCE on Early Years and Key Stage 1 Maths Developing a sound understanding of mathematics is essential for young children.


NEW GUIDANCE on Early Years and Key Stage 1 Maths

Developing a sound understanding of mathematics is essential for young children.

by Doncaster Research School
on the

Developing a sound understanding of mathematics is essential for young children. Maths understanding in the early years is consistently associated with mathematical achievement later. Yet not all children learn the skills they need for future success.

The Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) latest guidance report – Improving Maths in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 – reviews the best available research to offer settings and schools five recommendations to support mathematical development of children aged 3 through 7.

One recommendation focuses on the use of manipulatives and representatives to develop understanding. These tools can be extremely powerful in developing mathematical understanding, but children need teacher support to be able to link the manipulative with the specific mathematical concept being taught.

Another recommendation, around dedicating time to maths and integrating maths throughout the day, highlights that story and picture books can be a powerful tool for engaging children with basic maths concepts. One example given is of a book with pictures of different animals, including a snail, a crab and an insect. The guidance advises that teachers should engage in mathematical talk with children about the book – for example, asking children to count the number of feet that the different animals have and to show them with their fingers.

The report – which is free to download from the EEF’s website – is aimed primarily at mathematics leaders, senior leaders and other staff with leadership responsibility for the Early Years or Key Stage One.

This guidance report sits alongside the EEF’s other reports – focused on literacy, social and emotional learning, metacognition, effective implementation and making best use of teaching assistants.

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