Using ‘Loose Parts’ in EYFS Maths

In recent years, ‘loose parts’ have become incredibly popular amongst practitioners in the Early Years, but can this type of resource help us teach early maths?  ‘Loose parts’ usually refers to large quantities of natural or recycled objects used in a wide range of ways by children. Examples include pine cones, stones, bottle tops, bamboo off-cuts, glass pebbles and much more. As long as the items are safe for the age or stage of development a child is working at, the only limit on what can be used is our imagination! In this blog I’d like to focus specifically upon how loose parts can play a central role in maths in the early years. To do this, I’ll look at two key areas we need to make provision for in order to support the minds of our youngest mathematicians. Exploring and Developing an Understanding of ‘Pattern’: Given the opportunity to work both collaboratively and alone, using different types and sizes...Read More >

Planning in the EYFS Without a ‘Topic’?

How about changing from EYFS ‘Themes’ to ‘Exploring our ideas about…’ instead? ‘Themes’ and ‘Topics’ have long dominated practice in the Early Years: ‘Ourselves’, ‘People Who Help Us’, ‘Mini-beasts’, ’Dinosaurs’; the list goes on. As my understanding and interest in how young children learn and make sense of the world grows, fuelled enormously from my visits to settings inspired by those in Reggio Emilia, I would like to explore an alternative approach. Sometimes these ‘topics’ or ‘themes’ aren’t selected; they’re just on someone’s planning and have been there so long that they are no longer questioned. In other settings adults have considered the kinds of things young children are interested in ‘Dinosaurs’ or familiar with ‘People Who Help Us’. But do these ‘topics’ really reflect the way children’s thinking and sources of fascination change on a daily basis? Do they support and extend the many connections they are capable of making and the challenges children set for themselves that we...Read More >