Describe the process of mathematical development in relation to current frameworks

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.6: Develop emergent mathematical skills of children
Learning outcome: Understand the curriculum requirements that inform mathematical learning for children from birth to 7 years
Assessment criteria: Describe the process of mathematical development in relation to current frameworks


Mathematics is an essential skill for early years students. Understanding the fundamentals of mathematics can set children up to be successful in their future academic pursuits and form a strong base that they can build upon throughout their educational journey. In this blog post, we will explore how mathematical development is taught in early years education, including in the framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

In order to understand how mathematical development is taught in early years education, it’s important to first look at what mathematical development actually is. This includes being able to recognize numbers and count objects, being able to solve simple addition and subtraction equations, developing an understanding of shapes and spatial relationships, learning concepts such as time and money, and problem-solving skills. All of these are fundamental components of a child’s understanding of mathematics that need to be developed from an early age.


The EYFS framework focuses on six areas of learning which promote physical, personal, social and emotional development as well as communication and language skills; one of these areas is mathematics. The EYFS framework sets out the expectations for each age group starting from birth up until five years old; this includes learning objectives such as counting objects accurately up to 10 or beyond, beginning to recognize numerals 1-9, comparing amounts using vocabulary such as “more” or “less” or “same” and so on. Early childhood educators use a range of teaching methods such as hands-on activities like sorting objects into groups or playing games such as bingo with numerals or shapes on them in order to support children’s mathematical development.

Mathematics is often taught through play-based learning—using everyday situations like shopping trips or preparing meals that involve counting items—or through structured activities that introduce problem-solving scenarios with different difficulty levels depending on the child’s age. Educators also use visual aids like charts with labeled numerals or pieces of material cut into different shapes which help children connect abstract concepts with concrete representations that they can interact with directly. Regular assessment helps educators track each student’s progress against the EYFS expectations over time so they can identify any areas where extra support may be needed.


Mathematical development in early years education is critical for setting up young learners for success later down the line. The process involves introducing core concepts through hands-on activities combined with visual aids and regular assessment against the Early Years Foundation Stage framework objectives in order to ensure that each child progresses at their own rate while mastering fundamental math skills along the way. Achieving this goal requires creativity from teachers and consistent effort from both students and parents alike if children are going to reach their full potential when it comes to mathematics.

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