Creating a numeracy rich FP environment is an important element of developing learners’ numeracy skills. Estyn’s overview of good practice in provision for numeracy (Annex 4), suggests that they would expect to see:
- a rich and dynamic indoor and outdoor environment
- numeracy given a high status
- plenty of good quality opportunities for pupils to apply their numeracy skills in all areas of learning
- mathematical area, ICT area and play areas that are well equipped with resources that enhance pupils’ numeracy skills
- displays of good quality that illustrate the forms and purposes of number
Estyn also set out clear guidance on the appropriate numeracy resources to develop learners’ numeracy skills through continuous provision. Keep this list to hand and consider how each resource can be used appropriately for your classroom theme, e.g. a clock set in a vets role play area for surgery/medication times. This is a handy checklist from a Glowscotland blog.
Another effective way to ensure your FP environment is numeracy rich is to start from something that learners will enjoy doing as they play and explore. Create a set of resources that offer lots of freedom to play, explore, question and try out ideas, e.g. trays containing marbles, fir cones or small world toys encouraging sorting, comparing, arranging, matching, using trial and improvement or working in a systematic or ordered way.
Having a range of practical resources is the first step to creating a rich context for the children to develop their numeracy. The next step is the ability of the adults in the setting to recognise the mathematical potential in play activities and draw this out through skilful questioning. Nrich has a vast bank of activity sheets, using resources found in the environment, with questions and prompts for practitioners to help them develop children's mathematical thinking. Ensure that the tasks progress throughout the FP using this table aligning the tasks to the Welsh POS and showing the expectation statements developed through each task. You can also purchase paid, ready-made resources to develop numeracy skills such as this Little Red Riding Hood Reasoning Mat with questions for N-Y3.
Next month’s blog: Creating a Numeracy Rich KS2 Classroom & progressive displays