At Fairfield Infant and Nursery school, we aim to provide children with a secure foundation for understanding number, problem solving and reasoning in mathematics so that they are fully prepared for the future. In teaching mathematics, we aim to make learning active and fun by embedding our mathematics in all areas of the national curriculum including outdoor learning, PE and topics. By using a mastery approach to teaching mathematics we have high expectations for all our pupils and promote positive attitudes towards mathematics in everyday life. We promote and encourage fluency in number facts by teaching a discrete ‘mastering number’ session daily, in addition to their normal maths lesson, where children practise fast recall of number facts to build a strong foundation in mathematics.
We plan lessons that follow a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach (CPA)
Concrete is the ‘doing’ stage, using concrete objects to model problems. Instead of the traditional method of maths teaching, where a teacher demonstrates how to solve a problem, the CPA approach bring concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical objects themselves. Every new abstract concept is learner first with a ‘concrete’ or physical.
Is the ‘seeing’ stage, using representations of the objects to model problems. This stage encourages children to make mental connections between the physical object and abstract levels of understanding. By drawing or looking at pictures, circles, diagrams or models, which represent the objects in the problem. Building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp concepts they traditionally find more difficult, such as fractions, as it helps them visualise the problem and make it more accessible.
Is the ‘symbolic’ stage, where children are able to use abstract symbols. Only once a child has demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the ‘concrete’ and ‘pictorial’ representations of the problem, can the teacher introduce the more ‘abstract’ concept, such as mathematical symbols. Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols, for example + - x ÷ to indicate addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.
Although CPA is shown above as three distinct stages, our teachers will go back and forth between each representation to reinforce concepts.
What our Maths lessons look like:
We recap prior learning at the beginning of each lesson
We introduce new vocabulary through STEM sentences (for example “We always take away from the whole”)
Children always have access to physical resources to support their learning (for example counter, numicon, tens frames, number lines)
Children are encouraged to answer questions using full sentences, explaining how they know the answer (for example, “double 3 is 6 because 3+3=6”)
Children are encouraged to work in pairs to reason and problem solve using mathematical vocabulary
Teachers praise children’s ability to explain their thinking and process rather than the answer.
Open ended challenges are provided to deepen understanding
How to support your child at home:
A secure knowledge of number is essential to support all your child’s future learning in maths. Before starting school children benefit from regular opportunities to:
Sing and join in with counting songs for example, 5 current buns, 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive (bbc counting songs)
Counting actions and objects (e.g. climbing the stairs, setting the table i.e. “how many cups do we need?”)
Recognising significant numbers (for example their age, door number, numbers in the environment)
As your children progresses in mathematics learning simple number facts fluently will unlock later maths concepts.
Number Facts (Year 1/2)
You can practise these facts by:
Focussing on one type at a time e.g. doubles, or one number at a time e.g. “how different ways can we make 4?”
Playing games with double dice
Using things around the home e.g. dried beans, pasta, stones, toys and splitting them up in different ways e.g. 4=2+2, 4=3+1