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|Description||In Messy Maths: A Playful, Outdoor Approach for Early Years, Juliet Robertson offers a rich resource of ideas that will inspire you to tap into the endless supply of patterns, textures, colours and quantities of the outdoors and deepen children’s understanding of maths through hands-on experience.|
|Categories||Primary, Teaching and Learning, Early Years/Foundation, Mathematics / Numeracy, Out of school, In school|
|Learning outcomes for participants/users and, where relevant, pupils or students||
In Messy Maths: A Playful, Outdoor Approach for Early Years, Juliet Robertson offers a rich resource of ideas that will inspire you to tap into the endless supply of patterns, textures, colours and quantities of the outdoors and deepen children’s understanding of maths through hands-on experience.
Packed full of activities that reimagine the outdoor space through a mathematical lens, Messy Maths is suitable for early years educators (of ages 3–6) who want to shake up their usual classroom practice and make the most of any outdoor space – whether this be a nursery, playgroup, child-minder’s back garden or a nature kindergarten – as a context for maths.
|Evidence underpinning this approach||
“First-hand experiences… can help to make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils and enhance their understanding… [and] could make an important contribution to pupils’ future economic wellbeing and to preparing them for the next stage of their lives.” (Ofsted, 2008)
Source: RSPB Summary Report, 'Every Child Outdoors - Children need nature. Nuture needs children.'
Messy Maths shows that being outside enables connections to be made between the hands, heart and head, laying the foundations for more complex work as children grow, develop and learn. The natural and built worlds provide dynamic and constantly changing environments, offering an endless supply of patterns, textures, colours, quantities and other attributes that underpin much of the necessary early maths experiences.
|How users/participants can evaluate success||
Every child and adult is mathematically able. We all have different strengths and abilities within maths. By sharing ideas and enjoying mathematical conversations, we can deepen our understanding. For children who require additional support, we need to be sensitive to their needs. Use language and communication methods appropriate to their abilities, have fun and focus on precisely what each child can do. They may surprise you and extend your learning just as much as you do theirs.
Aside from mud pies and puddles, the cognitive processes involved mean maths is not a smooth linear pathway of learning but rather an interconnected network. Children need time to make sense of abstract mathematical ideas through experiential processes, along with opportunities to ponder, enjoy and discuss the concepts encountered. Lots of playing along the way is a must.
|Follow-up activities and support||
Juliet Robertson is an education consultant who specialises in outdoor learning. Before becoming a consultant Juliet was a head teacher at three schools, making her more than qualified to help others improve their practice. She also writes a popular education blog – ‘I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!’ – where she illustrates her ideas and enthusiasm for learning outdoors. @CreativeSTAR
Contact Juliet at http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/
Reviews provided by Mairi Ferris, Jan White, Jonathan Lear and Cath Prisk.