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Over the past twenty-five years I have found that whenever a group of early years practitioners are brought together, about half of them will tell you that they are ‘bad at maths’. When asked how they know that they are bad at maths, the following reasons are given:

My teacher said I was no good. I kept getting my sums wrong. I was in the lowest set. I came at the bottom in tests. The perception of having poor number skills usually starts at school when children are propelled into using abstract symbols before they have securely understood the underlying mathematical concepts. Once we believe we have a difficulty with learning or doing something such as mathematical operations, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as anxiety tarnishes the whole of our experience.