Early Years Teaching Ideas: Maths

Maths can be a difficult topic for parents to face, especially if they struggled with the subject themselves at school. This article describes various of different ways to approach mathematics, focusing on learning number orders, counting, and counting in groups, and looks at how to capitalise on the flexibility of the ‘classroom’ setting in a home school education system for early years students. The end of the article looks at how home schooling parents can find other ideas for teaching maths to children in their early years of education.

Maths Teaching Ideas for Young Children

The first step for children to gain maths skills is learning how to count. Think about what counting is: it’s naming numbers in sequence. Start by counting to ten with your child, then increase the list as the child understands more. Make it active: name numbers together while pointing to fingers, and use both of your hands as the list grows. Nursery rhymes like ‘One, two, buckle my shoe..’ can help to act as memory aids, as can songs – they can be particularly good if you invent the songs with your child. The counting songs are more memorable since the child was involved in its composition, and you can sing the songs whilst out and about.

Another way to capitalise on the flexibility of the home education system is to encourage your child to count things whenever you’re out, for example fruit stacked up in the supermarket, or cars in traffic, or pieces of chocolate as they’re eaten – the latter a good incentive for counting! Use the dots on dice, during board game play, to help instill counting as a natural activity. These can also be used when your child has developed counting schools enough to learn about adding and subtracting: counting dice and squares on boards in games mean they will be adding and subtracting without realising they are learning.

The next step will usually be learning numbers by groups, such as the 5s, 10s, etc. Again, games can help: giving ‘high fives’ can be a useful way to learn the fives, for example. If you have a home education group of children, chanting these number groups together can be helpful, the children could be encouraged to get faster and/or louder as they gain confidence.

Other Sources of Maths Teaching Advice and Maths Lesson Plans

A quick search of a local library should reveal some good maths revision guides and teaching guides that will help to kick start any parent’s memories of maths. Even if you were a good maths student at school, there are a range of new, modern techniques that you might find helpful, so a quick revision session of maths can be useful. Some maths revision books that I’ve found useful are the CGP range, available on the high street and in local libraries. On the web, there are also huge resources for teaching ideas for maths.