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E2BN Early Years Maths

40-60 months


  • Show curiosity about and observation of shapes by talking about how they are the same or different.
  • Match some shapes by recognising similarities and orientation.
  • Begin to use mathematical names for 'solid' 3D shapes and 'flat' 2D shapes, and mathematical terms to describe shapes.
  • Select a particular named shape.
  • Show awareness of symmetry.
  • Find items from positional or directional clues.
  • Order two or three items by length or height.
  • Order two items by weight or capacity.
  • Match sets of objects to numerals that represent the number of objects.
  • Sort familiar objects to identify their similarities and differences, making choices and justifying decisions.
  • Describe solutions to practical problems, drawing on experience, talking about own ideas, methods and choices.
  • Use familiar objects and common shapes to create and recreate patterns and build models.
  • Use everyday language related to time; order and sequence familiar events, and measure short periods of time with a non-standard unit, for example, with a sand timer.
  • Count how many objects share a particular property, presenting results using pictures, drawings or numerals.
  • Use language such as 'greater', 'smaller', 'heavier' or 'lighter' to compare quantities.
  • Talk about, recognise and recreate simple patterns.
  • Use language such as 'circle' or 'bigger' to describe the shape and size of solids and flat shapes.
  • Use everyday words to describe position.
  • Use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

Observation 1

Mark made a crown for his key person. He had cut a strip of paper and put it through the crimping machine before fixing the ends together and taking it to her. The crown was too small so Mark took another piece of paper and measured it against the metre ruler. "1, 4 and 4" (44cms), he made this into another circle but it was still too small.

His key person asked, "How can we find out how big my head is?"

Charles suggested "we need to measure it". He fetched the metre ruler but realised that it wouldn't work so Mark fetched a flexible ruler. Mark said, "It's not long enough, it won't go round". He went back to the shelves and fetched a tape measure. Together the two boys measured the adult's head. Mark said, "It's a two and a six".

Mark then returned to the graphics area and cut some strips of paper which he crimped. He knew he needed to measure them and had some help to lay the measure onto the table top. The piece of paper he had selected was too short so he began to add extra pieces until it reached the required length. He continued to add pieces but the final piece made the strip too long. Initially Mark looked perplexed and a little disappointed, "its too long". The adult suggested that he could use scissors to cut it down, "Yes, good idea", he fetched scissors and cut the paper.

Mark fixed the two ends of the paper and took it to his key person to try on. "It fits" Mark said with a big smile. He left and went to make a crown for his friend remembering the process he had followed.

Comments: Charles and Mark were involved in using measure to solve a practical problem. They were supported by the practitioner's interest and suggestions, with plenty of opportunities for them to find their own methods and make choices. The learning environment also supported their problem solving as appropriate tools were on hand for them to be able to independently try things out and find which worked for their particular purposes.


< 30-50 months