Nursery staff have been advised to use everyday activities like snack times and storytime to teach children about counting, addition, subtraction, time and sharing.
A report published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) recommends early years settings and schools boost the maths skills of three-to-seven-year-olds.
The report says early years practitioners should ‘take advantage of such time to support mathematical development’ in a bid to close the numeracy attainment gap particularly for disadvantaged children.
Professor Becky Francis, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) said: ‘It is crucial, then, that we start early and make sure that all young people – regardless of background – have access to great mathematics teaching in the early years and at primary school.
‘Not all children learn the skills they need to succeed. In 2018, just 66% of disadvantaged children achieved at least the expected level of development for numbers at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage compared to 82% of their peers.
‘Once children fall behind, it is hard for them to catch up and they are likely to fall further behind throughout school.’
Early years staff are encouraged to use storybooks, games, songs and rhymes to help young children with maths. For example, the guidance urges staff to ask children to count the feet of different animals in a picture book and show them with their fingers.
The report recommends seizing chances to reinforce children’s mathematical vocabulary. Staff are encouraged to use everyday objects as well as maths resources, to help children develop their understanding of concepts like addition.
Professor Francis, added: ‘Mathematics plays a key role in a child’s development. Very young children are naturally curious, noticing differences in quantity and the shape of objects, and use early mathematical concepts when they play.
‘Mathematical understanding helps children make sense of the world around them, interpret situations, and solve problems in everyday life, whether that’s understanding time, sharing amounts with their peers, or counting in play.’
The full story, as reported by daynurseries.co.uk can be read here.