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Maths for the more able in the Early Years Foundation Stage


Some children show signs of high ability at an early age, but as children develop at different rates their ability may not be obvious until later.

Teachers will be observing, discussing and making assessments from the time children start school. Some children may be able at maths and working at the normal class level in other subjects.

There are some characteristics that young able children may show.

Behaviour and learning style

  • They often have good verbal reasoning skills far in advance of their writing skills - it is important to encourage them
  • They may like talking and discussing ideas with adults and other children
  • They will have a good memory
  • They may get easily bored and become disruptive
  • They can get cross and fed up if a task is too easy
  • They tend to ask endless questions that require thoughtful answers
  • They often prefer to work independently and can be irritated if others do not understand what is needed
  • They like to discuss what they have been doing

Two boys working togetherIn maths specifically

  • They will often look for patterns. eg 2 + 2 = 4 and 20 + 20 = 40

You can make good use of number story books such as The Hungry Caterpillar and number rhymes involving counting on and back.

There are many tasks around the home that they can enjoy such as setting the table, baking and shopping.

You can ask questions such as: How do I share these eight fish fingers equally between you and your friend? I have 10 cakes. If I put two chocolate buttons on each, how many will I need?

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Last updated: 7 months ago