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Archive for December, 2022

Ten facts about money

By Admin, on 16 December 2022

Have you ever wondered where money comes from? Or how long we can use a paper note for?  

Although you may think your child is too young for these facts, a touch of trivia can spark rich conversations and lead to further interest in knowledge about money. 

Here are some facts you can discuss with your child. 

  • Currency is the type of money a country uses. For example, the U.S. uses the dollar, while Great Britain uses the pound.
  • If you travel to another country you need to use their currency. For example, in Europe they use Euros and not pounds
  • Romans used salt as a currency at one time.
  • Money is made in special factories called mints.
  • The first coins were minted (made) around 2,500 years ago.
  • Paper money was first used in China over 1,000 years ago.
  • 1p is the lowest value in coins in the UK.
  • It costs more than 2.4 pennies to make 1 penny!
  • Paper money isn’t made from paper but from a combination of cotton and linnen.
  •  To prevent people from just making fake money the ink on paper money is very special and can even change colour (as well as being traceable and being magnetic).


Want to find out more? Here are some helpful websites: 






Number Formation

By Admin, on 16 December 2022

By Tugce Cetiner


Number writing is a significant handwriting skill because it is positively related to academic performance (Dinehart & Manfra, 2013). There are different systems for number writing including the Roman numeral system and the Hindu-Arabic or Arabic system that is commonly used in the UK.

As the brain loves automaticity as that frees up thinking space to do other things (such as working out number problems whilst writing them down), it is important to always use the same formation when writing a number. For example, to write the number 7, it is necessary to start from the top and go down. This allows the creation of motor memory in the brain. Motor memory allows us to perform a specific motor task (e.g., handwriting) with minimum cognitive resources (Magill & Anderson, 2010).

Boy writing a number in a plate full with sugar with a skewer

photo copyright by Dr Jo Van Herwegen

When learning to write down numbers, the first thing children need is motor planning. Motor planning is the process of creating a plan to complete motor tasks before starting the task (Magill & Anderson, 2010). Motor planning includes all components of the task like “Where should I start?”, or “Which way should I draw the line?”. Due to their motor memory, children can remember all these components with minimum cognitive resources once learned how to write a number, allowing number writing to become automated. Thus, cognitive resources can instead be used for mathematical operations as well as to think about which number to write rather than how to write the number.

Automation of number writing can be achieved through increasing the repetition of practice trials. Using the correct starting point during these trials is important as it is allowed to create the correct motor memory. Moreover, using different activities such as different rhythm / song, and different sensory inputs  (e.g., writing in the air, writing with different pens or painting) also help to children to create better motor memory.


About the author:

Tugce Cetiner is currently a PhD student at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, in the department of Psychology and Human Development. Her PhD focuses on the motor skills of autistic children. She developed a motor-based early intervention program to support the handwriting (including number formation) of young autistic children aged 4-5 years. This program can be implemented in the homes of parents of young autistic children.



Dinehart, L. & Manfa, L. (2013). Associations between low-income children’s fine motor skills in preschool and academic performance in second grade. Early Education & Development, 24(2), 138-161.

Tucha, O., Tucha, L., & Lange, K. W. (2008). Graphonomics, automaticity and handwriting assessment. Literacy, 42(3), 145-155.

Dinehart, L. H. (2015). Handwriting in early childhood education: Current research and future implications. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy15(1), 97-118.

Feder, K. P., & Majnemer, A. (2007). Handwriting development, competency, and intervention. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology49(4), 312-317.

Magill, R., & Anderson, D. (2010). Motor learning and control. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Lage, G. M., Ugrinowitsch, H., Apolinário-Souza, T., Vieira, M. M., Albuquerque, M. R., & Benda, R. N. (2015). Repetition and variation in motor practice: a review of neural correlates. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 57, 132-141.

Copyright © 2022 UCL


Different types of numbers

By Admin, on 16 December 2022

Did you know there are many different types of numbers?

Your child will be learning about these as they go through the curriculum, so the list below will hopefully help you as a parent to support your child’s number knowledge journey. 

  • Natural Numbers. 

Any numbers that are used for counting or ordering. These include cardinal numbers used for counting and ordinal numbers used for ordering items (e.g., third in a row). 

  • Whole Numbers 

The numbers that include natural numbers and zero but are not a fraction or decimal. 

  • Integers 

A counting number, zero, or the negative of a counting number but cannot be a fraction or decimal. (E.g., -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3). 

  • Rational Numbers 

Numbers that can be expressed as a fraction. (E.g., 1, 4/4, 1.0). 

  • Irrational Numbers. 

Numbers that cannot be expressed as a fraction. (E.g., Π, √2). 

  • Real numbers 

Any number that we can think of, except complex numbers, is a real number. It includes rational and irrational numbers. 

  • Complex numbers. 

A complex number is the sum of a real number and an imaginary number. https://www.cuemath.com/numbers/complex-numbers/ 


Then you also have  

  • Positive numbers: real numbers that are greater than zero 
  • Negative numbers: real numbers that are smaller than zero. 
  • Odd numbers: Number that cannot be divided into two parts equally 
  • Even numbers: numbers that can be divided by 2. 
  • Prime numbers: numbers that only have two factors: 1 and itself. These numbers can only be divided by themselves and by 1. (e.g., 5, 7, 11, 13, …) 

There are a lot of numbers for your child to learn about and talking about these differences will help your child.

Mathematical Vocabulary

By Admin, on 16 December 2022


Mathematics has its own vocabulary that children have to learn. For example, they need to learn the number names such as zero, one, two ,three in English. In addition, children need to learn what different symbols mean as well as learn about specific concepts (like pi or hexagon). This is also referred to as number talk.


In addition to this, children need to learn wider concepts and words that are important for the mathematical development as they allow children to comprehend and participate in mathematical activities, which is often referred to as mathematical or math language. Mathematical language is important when learning about number, shape, size, capacity, spatial relationships, time, money and many other aspects of maths.


Below is a table with words that are important for children’s maths language.

Area Example
Numbers  One, three, five, seven, ten, eleven, fifteen…
Cardinality Four more left, two plates for us, how many, one in the fridge…
Ordinality First, second, third, fourth… next, last one,…
Magnitude + magnitude comparison Some, more, a lot of, any, many, a bit of, a little bit, same, less, every, enough, as many

as big as, smaller than, larger than, greater

Math Operations/Arithmetic Minus, add, in addition, moreover, in sum…
Fractions Half, whole, complete, one quarter, two quarters, piece, one half, unequal,
Spatial Relationship (including Distance/ Location) In, out, on, under, above, middle, up, down, front, below, back, far, near…
Size (including height, weight, length) Big, small, long, short, heavy, light, thin, thick
Shapes Square, circle, triangle, rectangle, oval, star

Round, dot, spot, line, circle, rectangle, square, hexagon, pentagon, oval, triangle, diamond, sphere, cylinder, cuboids, pyramid.

Money How many, how much, cost, price, pounds, pence, dollar, pennies,
Volume/ Capacity Full, empty, half, a little, more, the same…
Classifier Sheet, piece, cup, bag, slice, glass
Time and age One year old, four years old…

Two o’clock, twelve o’clock, seven thirty, two thirty…



The development of mathematical vocabulary is important for young children as its use is necessary for them to reason and to understand maths. For example, when children learn that the words “more” and “less” can be used to describe number, they have a way to verbally explain the differences between a basket with ten apples and a basket with 5 apples. Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between preschool-aged children’s number skills and their math vocabulary over and above their general vocabulary (Purpura & Reid, 2016).

So how can you help your child’s mathematical language development?

Try and highlight mathematical concepts in your everyday environment (the Maths@home activities can help you with this) as studies have shown that parents’ use of number talk is significantly associated with children’s early math skills (Elliott et al. (2017) and the more mathematical language children hear at school and at home, the more likely it is that they have higher mathematical skills.

Also reading story books with your child can help develop their mathematical language as well as their mathematics vocabulary. Especially books that explain numbers and how they relate to each other might help children “mathematize” or understand everyday situations in mathematical terms. If you want to know more about how narratives can help develop your child’s mathematical language, read our blog on maths and narratives here.



Elliott, L., Braham, E. J., & Libertus, M. E. (2017). Understanding Sources of Individual Variability in Parent’s Number Talk with Young Children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1-15.

Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2016). Mathematics and Language: Individual and Group Differences in Mathematical Language Skills in Young Children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 259-268.

If you want to read more about this topic:


Purpura, D. J., Napoli, A. R., & King, Y. (2019). Development of mathematical language in preschool and its role in learning numeracy skills. In D. C. Geary, D. B. Berch, & K. M. Koepke (Eds.), Cognitive foundations for improving mathematical learning (pp. 175–193). Elsevier Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815952-1.00007-4


Turan, E. & De Smedt, B. (2022) – Mathematical language and mathematical abilities

in preschool: A systematic literature review. Educational Research Review 36, 100457