My name is Bridget and I am so proud to have been approached along with eight other Early Years practitioners across the city to work together. Our mission is to decide what mastery maths might look like in EYFS through research and lesson study, with a particular focus on developing Early Number Sense.
Historically, I admit that I have planned and taught maths lessons paying close attention to ‘next steps’ in order to accelerate children’s learning as soon as they appeared to understand a concept. I liken this to parenting my first child when I strived to meet every milestone (first tooth, sitting unsupported, crawling, walking, babbling). By this I mean that I was so focused on them moving on the next stage, I feel I missed all the small steps which showed how the learning occurred.
From day one of this learning journey I have been challenged on so many levels. I have learnt how to confidently use new language and thoroughly understand why terminology is important to support children’s conceptual knowledge. For example; during every lesson we empower the children to develop their own solution and refer to this as ‘releasing the kite’. We also challenge ‘rapid graspers’ by making them feel ‘mathematically uncomfortable’.
Every lesson that we have planned through the research group has been discussed in depth ensuring that key concepts have been broken down into small steps. Who’d have thought you could spend at least a week teaching number 4?
I have observed my research team (affectionately known as the purple group) teach some amazing lessons using innovative resources including a balance of familiar maths equipment alongside everyday objects such as egg boxes, ice cube trays, sticks and stones.
The beauty of working alongside other very knowledgeable people including university professors, Early Years specialists and of course Martin Tillbrook (East Midlands South Maths Hub’s, Teaching for Mastery Primary Lead) and his extensive knowledge has enabled us to enter into some thought provoking debates!
We are all at different stages of the journey, trialling lessons in different ways with different sized groups. Some of us are planning for our colleagues and some of us in collaboration with colleagues.
We have already seen the impact that working in mixed ability groups can have on all learners and there is still so much more to learn. I am so excited that Early Years maths mastery, along with developing Early Number Sense is going to be shared with all Nottingham City schools at the end of the project in July (1 x full day free training for 1 x F2 teacher from each school across Nottingham City).