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How can I plan in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) for teaching mathematics using everyday situations?

Created on 03 October 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 04 June 2013 by ncetm_administrator


How can I plan in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) for teaching mathematics using everyday situations?


If, as a teacher in the early years and foundation stage (EYFS), you are thinking of ways to plan for mathematics in the six areas of learning, this page is just for you!

There are many resources on the NCETM portal to help you explore ways in which to plan for mathematics in other areas of the EYFS curriculum. We have picked out a few and made them quick and easy to find.

They include:

  • Support for developing your own subject knowledge
  • Practical ideas and resources for the classroom
  • Ways to reflect and develop your practice


How can I give my learners a rich mathematical experience across the whole EYFS curriculum?

  • Research for you in Issue 4 of the Early Years magazine has an article by Helen Williams entitled ‘Children's Play: Enriching the Early Mathematical Experience’, which may give you some ideas.
  • The mathemapedia article the six areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage contains guidance to help you develop connections between the six areas of learning.
  • The Mathematics specific pedagogy section of the self-evaluation tool has some excellent ideas for including mathematical learning in all areas of the EYFS curriculum

How can I plan for rich mathematical experiences?

  • You might find the mathemapedia article planning in the Early Years Foundation Stage helpful.
  • The Early Years CPD module considers:
    • what young children need to know and understand in order to become competent and confident mathematicians
    • what practitioners need to know, understand and be able to do in order to make this happen

You might like to explore this and consider ways you can develop counting and numbers within the six areas of learning.

  • In the mathematics-specific pedagogy section of the Early Years self evaluation tool, you can assess your confidence in planning. There are examples and several useful external links.

Where can I find resources to help me plan?

  • Issue 21 of the Early Years magazine has an article about a digital camera scavenger hunt. Why don’t you plan one of your own to carry out with your class?
  • Focus on in Issue 15 of the Early Years magazine makes links with mathematics and music.
  • The Early Years magazine has a wealth of ideas. Why not have a browse through the archived issues and see what you can find?
  • The Early Years section of the What makes a good resource microsite might give you some starting points.
  • You might like to consider using stories to inspire mathematical learning. Issue 3 of the primary magazine published a book list, some of these might be appropriate for you to use.

Where can I see an example of how teachers have developed mathematics in the six areas of learning?

Discussion Point

Now that you have looked at some of the resources offered, spend some time reflecting on how you can develop these with your learners.

  • Have these given you ideas on how to develop mathematics in all six areas of learning?
  • Which ideas did you particularly like?
    • Why?
  • Is it possible for you to adapt them for use in your setting?
    • How will you do this?
  • How can you help your learners use and apply maths in other curriculum areas?
    • Is there a particular area you feel confident enough to try?
    • Which one?
  • What will your next steps be in planning mathematics in everyday situations?

You could also share your ideas in the Early Years’ forum.

If you are planning to use stories to inspire mathematical learning, why not contribute your ideas in the forum for this topic?

Explore a piece of mathematics

Take a look at the using and applying section of the Early Years self evaluation tool. Consider how using and applying mathematics in the six areas of learning can be achieved. You could then post an example of your own.

Learning from each other

It has been said by some recently that ‘teachers learn best when they learn from each other’. If you know of another link to an activity or resource on the NCETM website that you think would be useful or appropriate for readers of this guidance, please use the comments box below to let us and them know of your idea.

Courses and Networks

We have many courses and networks available, search in our Professional Development Calendar to find a suitable course or network.

Personal Learning

The NCETM provides a Personal Learning Space which allows you to record your reflections, save documents that you have found helpful and share with colleagues.

  • You could use My Learning Journal to collect your thoughts and reflections. You can either type these or use the audio facility. You can also attach helpful documents. Why not visit your own PLS now?!
  • You could use My Favourites and Notes to capture and organise things you have found and want to use again.
  • You could use the Sharing and Contacts facility to share elements of your PLS with colleagues.
  • The request a reminder function is helpful if you want to return and look at your reflections at a later date.

Find out more details of these and other functions of the PLS.




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