• Compares two small groups of up to five objects, saying when there are the same number of objects in each group, e.g. You’ve got two, I’ve got two. Same!


  • May enjoy counting verbally as far as they can go
  • Points or touches (tags) each item, saying one number for each item, using the stable order of 1,2,3,4,5.
  • Uses some number names and number language within play, and may show fascination with large numbers
  • Begin to recognise numerals 0 to 10


  • Subitises one, two and three objects (without counting)
  • Counts up to five items, recognising that the last number said represents the total counted so far (cardinal principle)
  • Links numerals with amounts up to 5 and maybe beyond
  • Explores using a range of their own marks and signs to which they ascribe mathematical meanings


  • Through play and exploration, beginning to learn that numbers are made up (composed) of smaller numbers
  • Beginning to use understanding of number to solve practical problems in play and meaningful activities
  • Beginning to recognise that each counting number is one more than the one before
  • Separates a group of three or four objects in different ways, beginning to recognise that the total is still the same

Spatial Awareness

  • Responds to and uses language of position and direction
  • Predicts, moves and rotates objects to fit the space or create the shape they would like


  • Chooses items based on their shape which are appropriate for the child’s purpose
  • Responds to both informal language and common shape names
  • Shows awareness of shape similarities and differences between objects
  • Enjoys partitioning and combining shapes to make new shapes with 2D and 3D shapes
  • Attempts to create arches and enclosures when building, using trial and improvement to select blocks


  • Creates their own spatial patterns showing some organisation or regularity
  • Explores and adds to simple linear patterns of two or three repeating items, e.g. stick, leaf (AB) or stick, leaf, stone (ABC)
  • Joins in with simple patterns in sounds, objects, games and stories dance and movement, predicting what comes next


  • In meaningful contexts, finds the longer or shorter, heavier or lighter and more/less full of two items
  • Recalls a sequence of events in everyday life and stories