Explain how working with others supports children’s emergent mathematical development

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: Explain how working with others supports children’s emergent mathematical development


Mathematics is a vital component of early childhood learning and development. In an Early Years setting, children learn math through play and exploration, often in collaboration with their peers. Working with others can be beneficial for children’s emergent mathematical development as it encourages teamwork, helps them understand concepts better, and improves their problem-solving skills. Let’s explore how these interactions between peers can positively influence the mathematical development of young learners.

The Benefits of Collaborative Learning

Group work provides many opportunities for children to engage with mathematics in meaningful ways. It allows them to practice communication and collaboration skills by working together towards a shared goal or outcome. When engaging in activities such as counting objects, sorting shapes, or measuring items, children can benefit from sharing ideas and discussing different approaches to solving problems. This facilitates deeper understanding of math concepts such as addition, subtraction, division, etc., which is essential for developing mastery in these areas later on.


In addition to fostering communication skills, working with others also enables young learners to build confidence in their abilities. As they share their ideas and receive feedback from their peers or teachers, they develop a sense of ownership over their own learning. This gives them the courage to take risks with new problem-solving strategies while feeling supported by those around them who are invested in their success.

Promoting Problem-Solving Skills

Group work also supports children’s problem-solving skills as they learn how to think critically about various mathematical tasks. Through group activities like puzzles or board games that involve multiple players taking turns making decisions based on strategic moves or following specific rules, children learn how to make quick decisions and plan ahead for potential outcomes based on those decisions. They are also able to observe the successes (or failures) of other team members which reinforces key concepts and teaches them what approaches work best in certain situations—an invaluable skill when it comes to tackling more complex math problems down the road.



Working with peers is an important part of any child’s education but it is especially beneficial when it comes to emergent mathematical development in Early Years settings. By engaging in collaborative activities, young learners have the opportunity to practice communication skills while gaining confidence as they discover new ways of thinking about various math tasks that challenge them both mentally and emotionally. Ultimately this helps foster problem-solving skills which will serve them well throughout life no matter what career path they decide to pursue!

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