Since education is seen as an integrated learning journey, the Reception classes focus on cross-curricular themes. Detailed planning addresses the general areas of learning that have been identified as appropriate for 4 and 5 year olds under the government principles entitled 'The Early Years Foundation Stage' (EYFS).  The three Prime areas are:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development, which focusses on building self-confidence and self-awareness, exploring ways for the children to develop confidence in managing their feelings and behaviour, and supporting them in making relationships with others.

Communication and Language, which focusses on developing the children’s skills in listening and attention, understanding and speaking, with children being able to express themselves effectively, showing awareness of the listeners’ needs.

Physical Development, which focusses on developing the children’s gross and fine motor development, enabling them to move confidently in a range of ways and handle equipment and tools effectively as well as developing their understanding of health and self-care.

The four Specific areas are:

Literacy, in which children learn to read, write and understand simple sentences, demonstrate understanding about what they read and write, and learn and apply phonics and known words to reading and writing.

Mathematics, where the children develop their skills in number, counting reliably and ordering numbers to 20 and solving problems involving doubling, halving and sharing. They learn to add and subtract as well as developing skill in mental maths strategies. In addition to this, the children develop understanding of shape, space and measure.

Understanding the World, which focusses on the children developing their understanding of people and communities, the world around them and technology.

Expressive Arts and Design, where children develop their skills in exploring and using media and materials, sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. The children also work on being imaginative and representing their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.


  • oral work and mental calculation (about 5 mins) - whole class work to sharpen and develop mental and oral skills
  • main teaching activity (about 10 minutes) - teaching input and pupil activities, working in groups, in pairs or as individuals


We want children to:

  • Enjoy maths and become passionate about their maths learning both in their own play and in adult-led activities
  • Be willing to persevere to solve problems and take an active role in their own learning; ‘have a go’ and take risks
  • Collaborate and work together to solve problems, sharing their thinking
  • Contribute and develop their own ideas, making links in their learning and develop their own strategies
  • Celebrate and be proud of their achievements, applying the skills in other learning

As well as:

  • Have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system
  • Know basic number facts (e.g. number bonds, doubles and halves) and be able to recall them
  • Use what they know to figure out an answer mentally
  • Calculate accurately, both mentally and with pencil and paper, drawing on a range of strategies
  • Make sense of number problems and recognise the operations needed to solve them
  • Judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary
  • Suggest suitable units for measuring and develop sensible estimates of measurements; and
  • Recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort a variety of different shapes
  • Explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables
  • Have a rich knowledge, understanding and use of mathematical vocabulary; reading and spelling it.


Maths is one of four specific areas of learning in the EYFS, and is broken down into two areas: Numbers and Shape, Space & Measure.

In addition to the document Mathematics: The Framework for Teaching Mathematics, further guidance on the teaching of mathematics in the EYFS is found in the following documents:

  • DfEE Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage
  • Mathematics and Children in Reception Classes (WSCC)
  • The Revised Framework for Mathematics
  • Numbers and Patterns: laying foundations in Mathematics (DCSF 2009)

The EYFS Team work to develop confidence and competence in mathematical understanding through high quality play and teacher/adult intervention, and through direct teaching. The ratio of the different teaching and learning opportunities develops throughout the year with the majority of children experiencing mathematics every day.  By the end of the Summer term, Foundation Stage children will be experiencing the three elements of mathematics lesson either 3 times a week or daily if appropriate.

In a range of practical play contexts, the children develop their ability to explore and solve problems involving doubling, halving and sharing utilising their own methods.

Mathematics teaching and learning takes place in both indoor and outdoor settings and involves learning through stories, songs, games, imaginative play, construction, sand and water, computing and creative activities. 

Direct teaching is achieved by balancing the following elements:

  • Directing: ensuring pupils understand the direction of the lesson including sharing the teaching objectives
  • Instructing and demonstrating: adequate demonstration and explanation of required actions
  • Explaining and illustrating: giving accurate, well- paced explanations which refer to previous work or methods
  • Questioning and Discussing: listening carefully to pupil’s responses and responding with constructive open and closed questions which take the learning forward
  • Consolidating: maximising opportunities to reinforce and develop what has been learnt
  • Evaluating pupil responses: identifying mistakes and using them as positive teaching points
  • Summarising: reviewing during and towards the end of the lesson what children have learnt, clarifying misconceptions or giving children an insight into next stage of learning

In all classes there is an emphasis on direct teaching which is oral, interactive and lively.  It is a two way process in which children are expected to play an active part by answering questions, contributing points to discussions, and explaining and demonstrating their methods to the class.

NO rubbers are used in Maths either by adults or children. All mistakes need to be seen by the adult as these can feed into the assessment process and support the teacher and child in identifying misconceptions.


The learning assistant’s role is to help make sure that each child is fully involved and is learning in each lesson. They have their own copy of the plan and use this to aid their assessments.

In group activities, the learning assistant:

  • uses and encourages use of the unit of work’s target vocabulary
  • ensures that children understand instructions and are 'on task'
  • questions and encourages children’s participation
  • reminds children of teaching points made earlier
  • makes observations and looks for and notes any difficulties/misconceptions or achievements
  • encourages the children to independently access and use the available teaching aids such as number lines, digit cards etc...