What is early years ? Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
What age group is early years?
Early years is the name given to the years from birth to five years old. It is an important developing age range for children and the UK government has set standards for provision of education for this age group. From birth to 5 children are taught via games, songs and interactive play. They should be given the opportunity to explore, create and time to developing thinking and problem-solving skills.
Children learn very quickly at this age. There are a number of scientific reasons for this. Their brains, for example, are developing and their brain makes new connections each day – which means they are rapidly developing and interpreting new information. This is why early years are so important. It is important to expose children to a variety of activities and different situations. Research has shown that those children that develop core maths skills from a young age are at a advantage when they go into secondary school and those who are behind are unlikely by the age of 11 to catch up with those children who have solid maths knowledge.
How can I help my child with maths?
Children who are exposed to maths at a young age tend to retain and develop what they have learnt. This is why learning of times tables facts and number facts comes so easy to some children, even if they do not understand the concept. It is a good idea to explain the concept first, but if they do not get it, then you can still get them to memorise the times tables until they are developed enough to learn it. For example, once a child can count to 100 forwards and backwards, then they can go ahead and learn to count in twos. The government sets out guidelines as to when certain topics should be learnt, but as a parent you do not have to stick to this. My son was counting in two’s in his early years and this stood him in good stead for developing his maths skills. He loved using an abacus. Read how an abacus can help your child with maths here.
Maths in early years is – what should children be able to do?
Number – children in early years should be able to count objects and understand bigger and smaller. They should be able to explain more or less and do simple money problems.
Shape, measure and space – children in early years should be able to understand size, qualities, capacity, position, distance and money. They should be able to compare quantities and solve basic problems.
What are some good websites for early years maths?
How can I help my child in early years develop maths skills?
– Bake cakes, biscuits or try chocolate cornflakes. This requires them to weigh, plan and problem solve.
– Take your child out and experience the park, shops and museums. They can count objects and navigate to different areas of the location.
– When you are out an about count shops, buses, cars and more. This is counting and observation skills.
– When your child comes across something new, call it by its correct name. Name flowers, trees and cars. This teaches the importance of vocabulary and language skills. Use correct maths terms – e.g. subtraction and addition.
– Expose your child to different situations. Take them to the library, a puppet show, a book reading. This will broaden their perspective on life and they will become aware of things around them. Read how to teach your child to read here.
– Plant flowers in your back yard together and count the seeds. Line them up in a rows and columns. Teaches science and maths.
– Visit your local zoo and make a survey of all the animals in the zoo. Basic surveys can be combined with drawing to make maths fun.
– Make up a song and make it rhyme! This requires them to keep a beat!
– Play a board game like snakes and ladders – counting and adding skills. Taking turns.
– Do a puzzle together. This reinforces problem solving and teaches children to patient and observant.
Early years are an important time in a child\’s life. They learn so much and are so open to new ideas. It is the best time to widen their experiences. Help them develop their maths skills by exposing them to as much maths as possible. You will be amazed at just how much they will learn. Maths is all around us and so their experiences must be based on things all around them!