Scroll to content

Interactive Bar

Ceop Facebook Twitter
St Michael With St John Church of England Controlled Primary School home page

St Michael With St John Church of England Primary School

Nurture, Inspire, Achieve!


Reception Rationale 



Pupils develop the key skills of counting objects including saying the numbers in order and matching one number name to each item. Pupils understand the cardinal principle by learning to count out a smaller number from a larger group, knowing when to stop. Counting is built into everyday routines such as register time, tidying up, lining up. Adults sing counting songs, number rhymes, read stories and play games with pupils which involve counting.


Pupils are shown small quantities in familiar patterns (for example, dice) and random arrangements. Adults play games which involve quickly revealing and hiding numbers of objects. Pupils learn to put objects into five frames to begin to become familiar with the tens structure of the number system.


Pupils see displayed numerals in order alongside dot quantities and tens frame arrangements in provision. Adults play card games with children, such as snap or matching pairs with cards where some have numerals and some have dot arrangements. Lessons teach the different ways pupils can record quantities (for example, scores in games), such as tallies, dots and using numeral


Pupils are provided with collections of objects to compare, initially starting with a very different number of things - drawing attention to the amount, not the size, of objects before moving onto groups of similar of the same number. Staff use vocabulary such as “more than, less than, fewer”, encouraging pupils to do the same.


Number rhymes and counting songs are used as a way to introduce pupils to 1 more and 1 less. Pupils are encouraged to make predictions about how many there will be on the next part of the rhyme. Visual representation of numbers, such as number lines or number tracks, are used to relate this information to, in order to increase pupils' understanding of the number system.


Pupils learn to make patterns with simple rules (including AB) and objects and children continue the patterns.


Pupils are taught the names and properties of basic 2D shapes. They are encouraged to use these shapes in their play, making pictures, patterns or arrangements with them. Pupils are encouraged to notice shapes within their environment.


Pupils begin to notice the similarities and differences between size, mass and capacity.



Pupils learn to count verbally to 20 and beyond. Staff model pausing at each multiple of 10 to emphasise the structure of the number system. Adults provide images (such as number tracks, calendars and hundred squares indoors and out, including painted on the ground) so pupils become familiar with two-digit numbers and can start to spot patterns within them.


Pupils build upon their learning of the composition of numbers to 5 from Autumn and they are taught the composition of numbers 6-10. Staff provide a range of visual models of numbers e.g. six as double 3 on a dice or three fingers on one hand plus one from another totals four. Staff model conceptual subitising e.g. “There are three here and three here so there must be six”. Pupils are given opportunities to partition and recombine sets, for example aim to throw 5 beanbags in a hoop. How many go in and how many do not?


Classroom visual and practical displays show the different ways of making numbers to 10 so children can refer to these. Pupils are encouraged to play hiding games with a number of objects in a box, under a cloth, in a tent, in a cave, etc.: “Seven went in the tent and 2 came out. I wonder how many are still in there?” Adults spot and use opportunities for pupils to apply number bonds in provision, e.g. “There are 6 of us but only 2 clipboards. How many more do we need?” Pupils use five and ten frames in lessons and provision, this visually shows them number bonds to 10.


Pupils investigate how shapes can be combined to make new shapes, for example, two triangles can be put together to make a square or the faces of a cube are square shaped. Staff encourage children to predict the shapes they might make or find, and model thinking aloud.


Pupils are taught the names and properties of basic 3D shapes. They are encouraged to use these shapes in their play, making pictures, patterns or arrangements with them. Pupils are encouraged to notice shapes within their environment.


Staff teach pupils how to make patterns with varying rules e.g. AB, ABB, ABBC and objects. Pupils are encouraged to continue these patterns before creating their own.

Staff make deliberate mistakes to see if children can ‘fix it’.


Pupils build upon their prior learning to compare length, weight and capacity. Staff model using comparative language and encourage pupils to do the same e.g. “This is heavier than that.” Pupils are encouraged to make predictions e.g. What would happen if we poured the jug that is full of water into the teapot? Which would hold more?



Learning from the Autumn and Spring terms is built upon to ensure pupils have a deep understanding of the number system. Pupils who have gaps in their learning are given intervention to ensure they catch up.


Staff regularly provide opportunities for pupils to subitise, with the number represented in a different format e.g. 3 could be represented how it is on a dice, how is it on Numicon or in a line. Pupils are encouraged to subitise within the classroom environment.


Staff build opportunities into the school day for pupils to automatically recall facts they have been taught in the Autumn and Spring term e.g. “5 children are in my group and 3 have come to the table, how many children are missing from our group?” Pupils are given opportunities to play matching games, matching the numbers that make a given total.


Throughout the day, staff plan opportunities for pupils to count beyond 20 e.g. “How many are in class today? How days in the month have there been?” Staff show pupils patterns in the number system, for example through the use of a hundred square, and encourage pupils to talk about the patterns they can see.


Staff provide opportunities for pupils to compare quantities, through guided activities and within provision. Staff use questioning to assess pupils' understanding and to move their learning on.


Staff plan opportunities for pupils to explore and represent patterns within numbers, both through adult led activities and within provision. Staff use opportunities throughout the day to develop this skill e.g. “We are going to play a team game. There are 8 children here. Can you get yourself into 2 groups of equal size?”