How we teach maths
At St John’s, Maths is taught through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach. Through the use of these key stages in their learning, each child forms the understanding of maths concepts and skills which they are learning and can apply them to a range of contexts. We believe that children must be supported in developing their understanding of Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding. They must be provided with opportunities to practise and extend their skills in these areas and to gain confidence and competence in their use.
- Each skill or concept is first modelled with concrete materials (e.g. chips, unifix cubes, base ten blocks, beans and bean sticks, pattern blocks).
- Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery using concrete materials
- The maths concept or skill is next modelled at the representational (semi-concrete) level which involves drawing pictures that represent the concrete objects previously used (e.g. tallies, dots, circles, stamps that imprint pictures for counting)
- Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery by drawing solutions
- The math concept/skill is finally modelled at the abstract level (using only numbers and mathematical symbols)
- Children are provided many opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery at the abstract level before moving to a new math concept/skill.
- As a teacher moves through a concrete-pictorial-abstract sequence of instruction, the abstract numbers and/or symbols should be used in conjunction with the concrete materials and representational drawings (promotes association of abstract symbols with concrete & representational understanding)