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How to interpret EYFS profile statements - maths


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Hi. I'm new to FS1. I moved in September from KS1. It's been a steep learning curve but I'm loving it.


Getting to grips with the EYFS profile has been one of my biggest jobs & I often struggle understanding what is actually meant by some of the statements and what that would actually look like in a child. I work with 2 great Nursery Nurses. We all tend to have different opinions of what some statements mean. We are in desperate need of some moderation as a Key Stage but as always time is short in school. I think some of us are too harsh and others ticking off statements too easily (i'm the highlighter happy one of the team).

To cut a long story short could someone please give me some examples of things you would be looking for to assess the following statements (more may follow if you spoil me with lots of wonderful advice but I am focusing on maths to start with) I need to collect different opinions to gauge how tough or free we are being:

- 22-36 creates & experiments with symbols & marks representing ideas of numbers

- 30-50 beginning to represent numbers using fingers, marks on paper or pictures.


In my head the 2nd could be like tally marks when taking orders in cafe role play??? Is that too advanced? (KS1 head on here!) A girl made a reward chart for her mum and drew 10 circles to represent smiley faces - she couldn't accurately count them but told me what they were.

I'm fine with the fingers one, that happens all the time in our Nursery.


Hope I am not showing myself up to be completely incompetent with this post???

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not at all...I'm not convinced the first statement belongs in 22-36 months anyway, I would agree with you on 2nd, we have a few laminated sheets of different things, shapes, insects...that children can go off and find and then put marks to record how many of each they find, but we actually have quite a few discussions about 'numbers' and which band we think our children are working in now calculating isn't stand alone, a lot of 2015 cohort are half 30-50m & half 40-60m which is going to make it hard when we have to band them for transition information.

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Phew! What a relief to read your post. always nice to know others are swimming in mud too.


Really the 30-50 is the same but with the addition of the fingers bit??


Our children have loads of gaps in 22-36 in maths when generally they are working in 30-50 dev.


They love number and lots are really interested in counting and finding numbers in the environment but not many are recording numbers/marks.


I feel bad that this is due to shortfalls in the provision even though I have objects to count, dice, games, magnetic numbers, whiteboards, chalkboards, notepads etc.


Any ideas how I could add something to Nursery this week to do a quick hit check of who can & cant?? My plans for this week focus around sorting out my maths records as I dont want to plan from inaccurate data. I aim to have a selection of exciting resources for counting, matching etc & have this area manned all week to catch as many chn as poss but am struggling what questions or activities to encourage to hit mark making statements

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i agree the 22-36 statement is hard to define, but if ours are working in 30-50 then they have achieved 22-36 statement i feel! we have things like skittles, with easel them to record their score, however they choose. some draw skittles, some make marks some write numerals. doing this sort of activity as an adult led one and modelling recording amounts first has helped ours do this themselves independently. or we put out magnetic fishing game and leave clipboards for them to record how many fish they caught.

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Thanks for that sooty I love the skittle and fish ideas. We have these already but dont put any recording with them. These are the kind of ideas I need. I feel Ive got the basics but need to push further.


Think I didn't make myself clear about the levels they are working at. I meant they are 30-50 in other areas such as Lit, PSED etc. I know it is possible that they are genuinely not as good at maths as other subjects (due to natural ability or my "teaching") but I dont think this is the case.


I have modelled some activities representing numbers but will defo add the skittles & fishing recording resources & brainstorm where I can add it to other activities now you've switched on the idea in my head.


Thank you

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I think your example of the girl with the smiley faces could also fit statement 1, as you say she couldnt count them accurately.

Have you checked the exemplification materials?

Sometimes, you have to go with a best fit senario but I would always err on caution.

You have identified a gap in your provision though re mark making in maths and a few days focus should provide the impetus for the children. Clipboards and white boards with markers are often all you need to encourage this too.

Can you get together with another F1 setting to moderate your judgements and share expertise? As you are new to F1, it would not be unreasonable for you to ask for time to visit other settings too.

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I see the main difference between the two as being, in the 22-36 statement:

creates & experiments with symbols & marks representing ideas of numbers


is just that, there may be no accuracy to the quantity they are representing, its more about making marks to show their mathematical ideas and thinking. For example, drawing 'lots of rain'; or 'these are numbers on the bus'. This kind of 'mathematical graphics' comes through from their drawing in the play, rather than something that is 'taught'. If you provide mark making materials and sit with them whilst they are mark making, I almost guarantee you will hear some of them make some comment about numbers in some way. We often miss it because we aren't with them when they draw and paint etc, and when they bring it to show us afterwards, the moment has passed, and what they have drawn may not resemble much to us as we weren't there when they did it, so we dont have the running commentary alongside it to give it meaning to us.


In the higher band: beginning to represent numbers using fingers, marks on paper or pictures.

I see this more as starting to make accurate recording of numbers, such as in the examples given above, tallies, numerals, fingers showing how many apple slices they have had and so on.


The earlier one, in my view, actually continues alongside the later one, and so are not necessarily hierarchical. Therefore I wouldn't assume that if they can show you three fingers that means they have surpassed the creates and experiments as they are different but linked.


If you are interested in mathematical graphics, I would highly recommend the Children's Mathematics Network site for loads of inspiration, ideas and further reading.


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