Posted 2nd July 2019
If you were to ask anyone in the White Rose Maths team what the most common request from teachers has been over the past few years, there is no doubt they would reply with the following question:
‘When are you releasing something for Reception?’
Drawing together a team of EYFS specialists and teachers, we are really excited to release our brand new Reception Schemes which we hope will support EYFS practitioners within their own settings.
In this blog, we will look at the key points from the schemes and some key ideas that you should keep in mind when using them.
Taking the end of year Early Learning Goals into account, we have created a progression to support teachers in building up the key small steps in learning throughout the year. When working with EYFS teachers, our team found that teachers wanted clearer guidance in what they needed to cover within the year. Our progression helps support the coverage whilst still providing flexibility with how long you spend on different topics depending on your classes’ needs.
The progression is then broken down into small steps which give more detailed guidance on how to approach adult-led teaching of concepts, and how to enhance your provision areas to support teaching. Within the small steps, we have focused on key questions to support all adults within the setting to unpick children’s understanding and to enable them to move forward with their learning. The suggestions for learning could be used for short adult-led inputs or group activities with the children.
When we first released our draft Reception documents, we asked for feedback on what would make the schemes even more useful. The biggest thing that teachers asked for was advice on how to dig deeper into concepts and to extend children’s learning. We have of course acted on your feedback! Now, each of our blocks of learning contain a ‘Digging Deeper’ page with ideas of activities that will challenge children further and deepen their understanding.
Throughout the schemes, we highlight links to other materials that will support teachers further. These include web sites, books, songs and further activities to help provide a well-rounded curriculum. We will also be releasing IWB resources and printable resources to support classroom activities. We hope this will help save teachers valuable time when planning from the schemes.
‘All children can be successful with mathematics, provided that they have opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in ways that make personal sense to them and opportunities to develop mathematical concepts and understanding. Children need to know that practitioners are interested in their thinking, respect their ideas, are sensitive to their feelings and value their contributions.’
As can be seen in our schemes, we provide suggestions of how to enhance provision areas to support play. However, the most vital aspect of children’s play is for them to follow their own interests and for EYFS practitioners to use this as a starting point to develop their thinking. Teaching should be responsive to children’s needs. EYFS practitioners need to feel confident to take their children’s interests and build mathematical opportunities into them. We hope that the questions we provide for our adult-led activities give teachers an insight into the questions that will support in moving children forward in their thinking throughout their play.
Looking at the progression overview in our schemes, teachers may worry about only looking at numbers to 5 in Autumn, numbers to 10 in Spring and numbers to 20 in Summer. This is not the case. In Autumn, the small steps focus on numbers to 5 but it is important that children use and experiment larger numbers as well. Large numbers excite small children as they have an air of mystery about them. They see larger numbers all around them in everyday life and this can be brought into the classroom through the numbers used in displays and role-play situations that mirror real life. Although the WRM Reception schemes focus on deepening understanding and build the number sense of smaller numbers, children should also have the opportunity to discuss and experiment with larger numbers so they understand them in context without yet having to understand their composition.
Although there is a large weighting towards number in the Reception progression, it is still vital that children are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of shape, space and measure (SSM). This is evident in the schemes through interleaving content into other areas of learning. Understanding SSM is essential for making sense of the world. Teachers should create environments that allow children to experiment with SSM in child-led play as well as through the suggested activities in other blocks of learning from the schemes.
‘Direct teaching may be necessary, but effective early mathematics teaching strategies are playful, not formal, so that all children become cheerful, not fearful mathematicians.’
Gifford, S. (2018)
The WRM Reception Schemes have been designed to give teachers support in delivering short adult-led sessions, group activities and games that support the development of early number strategies. Alongside this, it is vital that children are given opportunities to follow their own interests through play, supported by EYFS practitioners with a good understanding of how to move children forward in their learning and foster a lifelong love of maths.