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Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (PSRN)

  • Mathematics is part of our everyday lives at home, at school and in the world around us.
  • Children have a natural curiosity in what is around them and this includes the mathematical.
  • Mathematical development is now called Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy in the Early Years Foundation Stage.


  • Children explore mathematical concepts through adult and child led activities;
  • Counting, matching, sorting, shape, pattern and lots more within our well-resourced maths area.
  • Sand, water and dough play for measuring, weighing.
  • Home corner and role-play themes acting out their own experiences and knowledge of the world around them.

Problem Solving
We provide a range of experiences to promote problems solving such as maths – related equipment, puzzles, designing and making activities, construction kits and more.

We encourage children to think about what they are doing by asking open-ended questions such as : what would happen if? I wonder why? Why do you think that? What can we say about it?

We provide opportunities for counting and number recognition through hands on experiences, role play such as the `shoe shop', number songs, rhymes and stories, walks within the local environment.


Young children learn through play

– playing with ideas helps children to have the confidence to `have a go'.

Looking and Listening

It is important to give children opportunities to watch and listen, to observe differences and similarities and share ideas.


Children learn through doing things with others, talking to each other and adults.
Talk is a link between doing something and knowing something.


When children explore an enjoyable activity over and over again it becomes familiar to them giving a sense of control over the mathematics involved.


  • Through practical everyday situations and hands on experience you can encourage your child to enjoy mathematical concepts, for example counting out and matching cutlery at meal times, putting on shoes, socks, clothing – matching one sock, two socks, the same.
  • Singing number songs, sharing number rhymes and stories.
  • Cooking, shopping, trips in the environment looking at number plates, cars and more!
  • Using mathematical languages such as big / bigger.

Let's Pretend

  • Young children sometimes are unable to make a start on something because they do not want to be wrong.
  • Pretend we are going to count these shells – where shall we start?


Language of Mathematics

Counting using one, two, three and then gradually extending the numbers used is important , however mathematicians need a wide ranging vocabulary – here is a short selection: -

Big – bigger, small - smaller

More – less, a few - a lot

Up – down, high - low

Back – front, middle - in between

First – last, over - under

On top – below, high - low

Fast – slow, before - after – now

Heavy – heavier, light - lighter

Wide – narrow, straight - curvy