First for figures;Early yearsPrimary;Reviews;Mathematics;Books

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
LEARNING IN THE EARLY YEARS. By Ann Montague-Smith. Scholastic. pound;8.99

A NUMBER OF THINGS. By Kathie Barrs and Sue Logan. Belair. pound;9.99

Mathematics in the Learning in the Early Years series is rather special, being aimed at all under-fives settings, including playgroups, daycare and family centres.

The clear planning approach will be valuable for some, instinctive or already established for others. The book has three chapters of advice on curriculum and learning objectives, equal opportunities and safety issues. There is detailed provision for assessment and record-keeping, alongside a good section on parental involvement.

The five sections of activities are based on mathematics from the Desirable Outcomes. They follow a sound pattern which starts with learning outcomes and highlights resources, language and questioning and provides useful follow-up activities. Strongly recommended.

A Number of Things is a super book, full of good practical ideas to help teachers make mathematicians. It is well-written for non-specialists with clear guidance on teaching points and possible concept confusions to avoid. The brightness of the design and presentation matches the content, which is an exuberant translation of the Desirable Outcomeskey stage 1 interface.

There is a strong focus on number, which makes this a good book for implementing the early hints from the Numeracy Project. There are also some great ideas for turning activities into interactive displays and involving older children in the early learning process. A gift for teachers.

* Jon O'Connor is head of Parkside First School, Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire

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