Ruth Merttens talks about how Abacus Reception covers the new EYFS curriculum
In this Abacus Reception update, Ruth Merttens talks about the new Matching Charts to the EYFS and Development Matters documents for 2021 and we invite you to join her in a webinar on 2nd November.
Dear Abacus friend,
You will be happy to note that we have updated the references for all our Reception Materials to the new EYFS and Development Matters documents for 2021. The Matching Chart shows the ELGs and also the relevant Development Matters statements in mathematics. Thus, it is easy to update your own records so that you can say what aspects of the framework you have covered and which skills children have rehearsed.
One or two points should be made. The paragraph on page ten of EYFS, which provides an overview of the mathematical topics that children are expected to cover, is considerably wider in its scope than the actual Early Learning Goals themselves. The overview mentions patterns, spatial reasoning, shape, space and measures, and ends:
"It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes."
In addition, the Development Matters document, which relies upon the same overview, spans a wide range of skills not specifically reflected in the Early Learning Goals themselves. It is for this reason that we have drawn on statements for Reception in Development Matters when referencing the coverage of the Abacus reception teaching and learning activities.
Development Matters outlines three areas of effective teaching and learning (page thirteen). These map very well onto the pedagogy of the Abacus materials.
Every week has play contexts and activities suggested and outlined in the weekly plan. Any of these allow plenty of scope for this type of activity.
The small group, child-led activities also lend themselves to this type of learning as children investigate and experience mathematical ideas in playful contexts.
The whole class teaching involves active teaching and learning. The teacher frequently models a process which is then actively reproduced by the children or children demonstrate a mathematical skill themselves, e.g. counting along a track or pegged number line.
Adult-led, small group activities allow for the scaffolding of children’s active learning, as the adult can prompt or modify as necessary. This is a very powerful context where learning is embedded and deepened.
Creating and thinking critically:
Games and investigative activities are provided as part of each weeks teaching and learning, largely in the context of teacher-led small group activities. These guided tasks allow the children to take risks and experiment, often in the context of a mildly competitive game or a ‘finding out’ activity in which further exploration of a topic is encouraged.
Finally, it is worth stressing again that the Reception curriculum in mathematics cannot be restricted to the scope of the Early Learning Goals alone. As we are all only too aware, Reception children must, by the end of the summer term, be ready for Year One.
This means that they must have learned about shapes and the positions of objects in relation to each other. They should have begun to explore the basic concepts of measurement, comparing how long or how heavy things are and understanding full and empty in relation to capacity. They should be able to continue and identify non-numerical patterns.
In addition, the EYFS and Development Matters documents stress throughout the importance of relating children’s home and everyday life experiences to their in-school learning. Hence, it is imperative that we address aspects of maths such as time and money, asking children to begin to recognise the seasons, identify critical times in the day, and be aware of how we can pay for things with coins. Both of these topics, time and money, are well-established staples of any effective reception mathematics curriculum.
Measurement and shape, position, time and money, none of them are mentioned in the Early Learning Goals but they are none the less a crucial part of the reception mathematical curriculum. As mentioned above, the Overview of Mathematics in both the EYFS and the Development Matters includes this range of subject matter. So, it is not always possible, necessary or desirable to reference activities engaged in by children to the ELGs alone and this should be remembered. The experiential and skill-based statements referenced in Development Matters are more than sufficient for any NC referencing.
Teachers need to have confidence in the knowledge and experience gained by themselves and their colleagues in knowing what to teach and when to teach it. By being true to this these new documents can add to effective provision in our Reception classes.
Wishing all reception colleagues the very best for the new academic year,