About cookies

The NCETM site uses cookies. Read more about our privacy policy

Please agree to accept our cookies. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're happy to accept them.


Personal Learning Login

Sign Up | Forgotten password?
Register with the NCETM

Maths Café

Only logged in users can post to this forum.

Early years Maths

katiewatie17 29 September 2015 22:37

Hi all. I'm new to this website but would appreciate some help if possible. I'm looking for help in what a good maths lesson looks like in Reception. I am a KS1 leader but have been put in charge of Maths in EYFS and KS1 aswell but I'd really like some guidance for Early Years as I have no background in that stage.

Any help greatly appreciated


Link to this Post   Report this post Report this post

helenjw 30 September 2015 08:49

Where to start... !

A Reception maths lesson may take many forms! However- it does not look anything like most maths lessons in statutory school-age classes. They take place in small groups and run over from session to session. Sometimes some take place for very short periods on the carpet as a whole class. Neither should maths be planned a week at a time, as you have to build on what children know and can do, so 2 or 3 days ahead is good, and then a re-think. R teachers do not have to use the planning framework in use in the rest of the school.

I would start by visiting the R class whilst they are at work/play- quite regularly and discussing with the practitioners how they introduce maths to their children, what they do and the questions they ask to extend chidlren's thinkng. Look at the resources they have. Go in with the spirit of learning from them! Ask them what their concerns and needs are.

Yoiu should read the EYFS guidance on Early Yrs maths and look at the Early Yrs section of the Nrich site: http://nrich.maths.org/early-years - great ideas and exactly what a 'lesson' should look like.

If you want anything to read - post again! Sue Gifford is excellent.

Good luck and enjoy it - it's the most exciting phase!

One more point. Beware of top-down policies putting inapproporiate pressure on R children.

Link to this Post   Report this post Report this post

helenjw 30 September 2015 10:05

You might like to read this by Sue:


Link to this Post   Report this post Report this post

BeckyDok1985 13 June 2019 09:03

Hello all, 

Thank you for the interesting recommendations! I am a Year 2 teacher and maths lead for an infant school and I am moving to reception next year...which will be a big learning curve for me! I have worked with Reception staff to build a maths mastery approach to teaching and learning maths which has gone well. Currently, we have a daily maths carpet session and then one AF group a week for each child (so 5 focus groups for adults to lead). We also have a short 5 min maths meeting to consolidate prior learning through songs, subitising games, counting etc. 

The EY lead is proposing that to free up the timetable next year we should get rid of carpet sessions and just have AF groups and a short maths meeting. I'm worried about the impact that this will have on children's maths understanding as I feel that a carpet session is still an important way of acheiveng depth of understanding and provides context for a focus activity...

It would be interesting to know what everyone's thoughts are on this. Does anyone not teach carpet sessions? 

Thanks for your help!


Link to this Post   Report this post Report this post

helenjw 20 June 2019 13:14

first some Q that I don't understand! What is an AF group please? What is the difference between a carpet session and a maths meeting?  


Link to this Post   Report this post Report this post