Monday, May 19, 2008

Numeracy - Early Years

In a follow up to my last post about reading to your child, I thought I would include an article I received in my latest Total Learning newsletter about developing numeracy skills in your young child (Total Learning is a book selling business that I am a consultant for).

Numeracy – Early Years

Children develop numeracy skills when they use mathematical ideas in their everyday situations. They begin to make sense of these situations by asking such questions such as:

  • How many?
  • Does it fit?
  • How big is it?
  • Which way will I go?
  • Is it likely to happen?
  • How much is there?
  • Will there be enough?

Families can help:

You may feel that the maths children do at school is different from how you were taught, or that maths was not your best subject. However, you are still able to help your child in many ways. This information will assist you in helping children learn and enjoy using their mathematical ideas in daily activities.

Responding to children’s ideas

  • Listening to, and talking with them about the number, shape and size of things in, for example, games, constructions, drawings, rhymes and stories
  • Asking questions like:
    o What might happen if...?
    o Why does...?
    o How do you know that?
  • Pointing out:
    o Numbers in magazines, books, signs, prices, packaging and numberplates
    o How these numbers help us to know how to find things, to know how much, to know how many and to know which one
  • Looking for opportunities where children can:
    o Sort, organise and count collections of things like clothes, toys, books, shells, rocks and birthday candles
    o Choose from a variety of materials of different shapes and sizes to use for play and solving problems
    o Be involved in making plans and designing their own constructions like cubby houses, robots and sand castles


  • Play games in the car such as: ‘Let’s count all the blue cars we see on our way to...’
  • When your child asks, ‘how long will it take to get there?’ you can respond with, ‘it will take about the same time as it takes to ...’ (get to school, watch Playschool, etc)
  • Stopping at a service station ask: ‘how many ice-creams will we need to buy? Do we have enough money to pay for them? How much does the petrol cost here?’


  • When going for a walk point out house numbers and ask your child: ‘what number do you think the next house will be? Will it be an odd or even number?’
  • When deciding what to wear, talk about the weather and ask your child: ‘is it likely to rain today?’

At home

  • When talking about TV programs, ask: ‘what is the time? What time does the program start? Do we have enough time to read this book before it begins?’
  • When preparing a meal involve your child in deciding how much food to prepare for the whole family. You can ask: ‘are there enough for us to have one each?’

Source: Raising Children Network –


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