Professional Development

Developing Pattern Awareness in the Early Years

A disposition to spot patterns is obviously helpful with mathematics, and current research suggests that developing young children’s pattern awareness improves their later mathematical understanding.

In this video, Dr Sue Gifford describes a project with teachers of 3-5-year-olds who developed a range of pattern activities in different contexts, with some surprising responses from the children. Sue discusses the key elements of patterning which engage young children in mathematical reasoning in practical and sociable ways, with interesting implications for older children too.

Watch the video

About Dr Sue Gifford

Dr Sue Gifford works as a mathematics consultant with practitioners and various bodies, including NCETM, NDNA, EEF, DfE and NRICH. Previously a London primary teacher, she now is an Emeritus Fellow of the University of Roehampton and chairs the Early Childhood Maths Group. She has researched early years mathematics and children with mathematics difficulties. She is the author of Teaching mathematics 3 to 5: developing learning in the Foundation Stage and co-author of the Nuffield project, Making Numbers: using manipulatives to teach arithmetic. Her current interests include the development of pattern and spatial awareness with young children.

Age: early years