Perception is a complex process, filtering, attending to and interpreting sensory information in what seems an instant. Most children’s perceptual skills are well developed before they reach school age, but problems spawn learning difficulties. It is important for us to consider how we can include developing perceptual skills within our fundamental maths curriculum. Some aspects of perception that children need to master include:

Differentiating features within a stimulus, e.g. visually separating background and foreground, or being able to select foreground sound, or relevant tactile stimuli.

Matching, both in the sense of recognising similarity, and in respect of corresponding new stimuli to existing knowledge.

Completing, being able to make sense of incomplete, images or events; this might include tactile or kinaesthetic memories of objects, quantities in groups, spaces, etc.

Connecting representations to meaning, including connecting pictures or symbols to real objects, spoken words to meaning.