Numeration is concerned with understanding numbers and their properties. Understanding how the number system works underpins many of the uses of mathematics in everyday life and establishes many of the thinking patterns on which mathematics relies. (Booker 2014)

Sequence for developing numeration

  • Build up the 1 digit numbers 0 – 9 as a basis for all numbers
  • Develop thinking in tens: 10 ones are 1 ten; and then the multiples of ten: ninety, eighty, twenty etc.
  • Establish place value with 2 digit numbers: 20 – 99 first and then 11 – 19
  • Extend the place value to 3 digit numbers: 10 tens are 1 hundred; include internal zeros and renaming amounts
  • Build place value include knowledge to larger numbers to increase understanding of how larger numbers are constructed and how to say them
  • Introduce writing numbers using exponents

One Digit numbers and Early mathematical thinking

  • Count every appropriate object you can, for/with the child: Leaves on a twig; cutlery while setting the table; pebbles on a path; ants on the driveway; eggs in a carton; people in a photo etc.
  • Share Picture Books about counting, such as: “Over In The Meadow” or the Aussie version “Somewhere In Australia” or “Learn To Count With Little Rabbit” or “The Waterhole” by Graeme Base
  • Pyjama Foundation worksheets 1 – 6

Handy resources

1. Number farm

2. Top marks, underwater colouring

3. Getting started with 10 frames

4. Borrow games from your closest Foundation resource centre!

Early mathematical thinking skills to work on when teaching one digit numbers

Conservation of number: activities to help the child learn that a number symbol always represents the same number of items regardless of their size or position. e.g.

= 3


also = 3

Classifying: Activities to help the child group items according to criteria. E.g. Pick up all the red ones. Other classifications are, shape, size, texture, number.

  • Activities to teach classifying include: Attribute blocks (available from your Pyjama Foundation Resource Centre)
  • Guess Who (game also available from your Resource Centre

Comparing: observing relationships between objects on a specific attribute. E.g. this is heavier than that. Other attributes are: height, thickness, texture, number.

  • Attribute blocks
  • Guess Who game

Ordering: (follows comparing) arranging objects according to a rule. E.g. Arrange the children from shortest to tallest.

  • Collections of objects such as pebbles, sticks, leaves, numbers, books etc.

Patterning: Children practise seeing, describing, extending, repeating, or completing a given pattern. Use threading activities or make your own patterns with attribute blocks.