‘It’s trying to ensure that we see learning as a continuum, and are sharing what learning is going on,’ says Anne Govan, Depute Head of Park Grove Nursery in Bannockburn. ‘Pathways to Numeracy has been a gateway to that.’
Park Grove Nursery, adjacent to St Mary’s Primary, is one establishment that has been highlighted as demonstrating effective practice through partnership working, thanks to a project aimed at improving numeracy in the early years.
‘The project was involved in looking at ways to ensure that there was continuity and progression in maths between pre-school and P1,’ says Marjorie Kellas, P1 teacher at St Mary’s. ‘This involved staff visits to the nursery and P1 to observe how both settings were approaching maths teaching. It was really interesting to see the opportunities that were created through active learning.’
Since this project was based around partnership working, Anne feels it has really helped to establish links with other members of staff.
‘The Pathways to Numeracy project has allowed us to further develop partnership links,’ she says. ‘It has opened the door to us working with another P1 teacher with the ongoing view of developing numeracy.’
Continuity and progression
As part of the initiative, groups of children accessed maths sessions in both pre-school and P1. The readiness and ability of each establishment to facilitate this demonstrates their understanding of the importance of continuity and progression in children’s learning.
‘By introducing specific numeracy skills in the nursery, children felt more confident both using and extending these skills in P1,’ says Anne. ‘If the project hadn’t gone ahead, I don’t think the children’s numeracy skills would have developed quite as much. The children can identify what they have learned, and they are talking about the skills they have gained, which is really great to see.’
Part of the secret to the programme’s success is its sole focus on numeracy.
‘By targeting one specific area, we have been able to look at how links have been made,’ Anne says. ‘It has worked so well as it has been a joint effort, with everyone striving for the same goals.’
Marjorie adds: ‘Good practice has been shared and a great deal of knowledge has been gained. Partnership working allows us to give and receive feedback on our teaching practices, which encourages us to reflect.’
For more information see: www.LTScotland.org.uk/numeracy