The new Longman maths Nursery Handbook is disappointingly basic. It shows, through photographs, attractive nursery contexts, but fails to make clear to teachers how to get the most out of them.
The Handbook is a beautifully produced file, divided into two main areas: Starting from Play and Starting from Maths Themes. It contains a set of copymasters to give to parents who want ideas for maths at home and ends with some very basic sample planning sheets. All the good practice of nursery is outlined in the contexts. For example, Starting from Play takes "Working together", "Being creative", "Using collections", "Pouring and filling", "Building and making", "Let's imagine", "On the move", "All around us" and "Eating and drinking" as the contexts.
Each of these is divided into sub-contexts and each section lists a number of activities for these headings with photographs.
However, as I read through the book, I was struck by the familiarity of the activities. For example, ideas given for the home area are laying the table, choosing the crockery by colour, labelling the drawers, sorting out the clothes, matching clothes to dolls, sharing out the biscuits and so on.
What we need are examples of the kind of questions nursery teachers could ask children to encourage them to think mathematically, or that would make the activity more investigative in the first place. Just a simple list of questions for each context, and "Things you might go on to say" would be a marvellous resource for nursery teachers.