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Our Approach

#325 Making Maths Matter – St Helen’s Playgroup

Carol Pickering

What did we do?

Discussions with St Helen’s Primary School, our main feeder school, indicated that many children were starting in Reception with below expected levels of mathematical language and that they generally continue to perform below expected levels in maths even with targeted interventions. This is particularly true for children with English as an additional language.

Wellcomm assessments of our current children indicated a weakness in the use and understanding of comparatives, positional language and the language of size. We also found that children with English as an additional language often chose to avoid traditional maths based activities and performed below expected levels for their age or stage of development.

As a result we decided to develop our maths provision with particular regard to developing mathematical language and support the development of mathematical thinking. We wanted to integrate maths into every aspect of our provision and to incorporate mathematics into daily routines, play activities, and all areas of the curriculum. In order to do this effectively, training opportunities were provided for all staff to develop their confidence in delivering maths-based activities and to inspire the use of new resources.

Summary of impact

The adults within the setting are now consistently incorporating mathematical language into their interactions with the children and providing more opportunities for the children to develop their mathematical thinking. This has had a very positive impact on the children’s attainment. In December, just prior to the implementation of the project, only 36% of the children were working at or above their expected level of development in mathematics. This has now increased to 73%.

Steps taken

Time was set aside for staff to complete the training. This was followed up with supervision discussions and brainstorming exercises to help successfully implement the project.

Resources required

We used the funding made available to us through the Ipswich Opportunity Area to facilitate training to support staff in delivering maths based activities and to purchase new resources for use within the setting.

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St Helen's Playgroup

Carol Pickering