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#325 Improving mathematical and literacy development in all areas of learning – Sunflowers Preschool, Ipswich

Kylie Ryley

What did we do?

The interventions that were implemented in the preschool including staff bespoke training on mathematical development. Literacy and Numeracy boxes in all areas for children to access. Also a home library that was set up to encourage reading at home so children are getting a wide range of opportunities to listen to stories in various settings.

Reading project was set up via our website and included activities for children to join in with at home and in session, with video recordings and activities being shared for download, and also zoom sessions for children to join in with.

All staff attended bespoke training on mathematical development, which was focussed around some of the new resources we had purchased. This supported the staff in learning new ways to use the items to support all children with their learning.

The literacy and numeracy boxes took a little time to get prepared to assure there were resources available to support numeracy and literacy, whilst also relating to the area they were put into. These also needed regular upkeep due to children moving things to different areas.

The mini readers project took a little time to plan and assure all materials were accessible on the website. Deciding the stories for the term, making activities for download and filming myself reading the story and uploading onto website and youtube. Allowing parents to access at times convenient to them.

New resources were purchased to promote numeracy throughout the setting, inside and outside. This was to assure that all children had access to use numeracy resources in whichever area they had chosen to play in.

We are new to England and my son has very limited understanding of English, but since starting at Sunflowers Preschool, he has been learning English rapidly. The take home bi-lingual books help me to read to him in Italian and English, supporting learning a new language. Thank You Sunflowers


My daughter loves looking at stories and often tells me about the pictures and telling me what has happened. This has led to my daughter drawing her own pictures and making her own stories up, also supporting her writing development. I can tell that Sunflowers staff have really supported her in being creative.


Summary of impact

Throughout the project, we have noticed that children have an improved attention span, not needing so much encouragement to sit quietly at circle time. Through learning walks and observations, children have been showing a bigger interest in books and have been looking at them more independently or asking practitioners to read to them.

Parents have also given positive feedback regarding the different activities we have carried out and have highlighted how they have seen improvements in their children at home.

Steps taken

At the start of the project it was important to speak to parents and find out information on what they currently do at home and what they would also like support with. It was also important to find out what methods would be better received by the families in our setting.

Due to having a high percentage of EAL families, we focussed a lot on making things accessible for all, having bi-lingual stories, sending surveys out via google forms for easy translating and making activities fun and engaging for all. Such as circle times, reading stories based on child interest and also singing songs that relate to the story.

It was also to make sure that literacy and numeracy was available in all areas so children could play in the areas that they wanted to be in but still have access to literacy and numeracy.

What would we do differently

I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent on the project and implementing new ideas in the setting. I would say it is very important to make sure communication to the whole team stays updated so all staff can ensure that same standards are delivered.


• Cost to release an EY practitioner for ½ a day per week, for 1 year to attend training, write an action plan, undertake relevant duties and monitor progress.

• £2,000 to purchase resources or in-setting training for staff.

• Access to a laptop and internet connection to attend virtual training & network meetings.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Developing literacy and numeracy teaching in an EY setting - Nature Den Nursery

Developing practitioner confidence in teaching early literacy and numeracy - Wellington Nursery

Making Maths Matter - St Helen's Playgroup

Implementing Maths into the Early Years Setting - ABC Childcare

Developing Literacy and Maths - Wigwams Nursery

Improving Literacy Skills - Early Years @ Highfield Whitehouse

Improving Maths as an Early Years Implementation Lead - Happy Tots Pre-School

Supporting Early Literacy - Rainbow Bright Nursery

Maths in Action - Little Learners Nursery

Developing early numeracy and literacy - Daisy Chain Pre-School

Improving Early Literacy - The Children's Triangle Nursery


Kylie Ryley, Preschool Manager / Implementation Lead