Jersey Stories can be counted on with Neil Griffiths

The Knowledge Makes Change seminar series aims to inspire and be informative on ‘what works’ for young children and their families to ensure the best possible outcomes. It forms part of NCB’s work in Jersey and is delivered in partnership with the Jersey Child Care Trust. They are free events open to everyone engaged with young children and their families in Jersey.

The 8th evening in the series featured Neil Griffiths discussing how stories can be used to teach maths in fun, exciting and unexpected ways.

Why does maths matter?

There is strong evidence to suggest that supporting children’s early mathematics, especially in the home, has a positive impact on long term attainment in mathematics and in other areas of learning and development. 

Looking ahead to adulthood, the available evidence shows both the positive lifetime impact of acquiring mathematical skills and the potential limitations of not doing so.  Professor Sir Adrian Smith’s review of Post 16 Mathematics commented that ‘well-established evidence shows that adults with basic numeracy skills earn higher wages and are more likely to be in employment than those who fail to master these skills’. 

Being confident in using and applying mathematics has a positive impact on children’s lives.  Adults can support children’s mathematical development, right from birth, through interaction, play and by using maths together in everyday life. Early years practitioners can also build parents’ confidence in supporting their child’s mathematical development through discussing with them activities run in their settings which parents can repeat at home.

Early Maths in Jersey

In Jersey, the Early Years team works closely alongside the Maths Adviser, meeting regularly to discuss recent initiatives and approaches, as well as delivering joint training. The Maths Adviser is currently writing a guide to supporting parents with their child’s mathematical understanding and development. The Early Years guidance has been written in collaboration with the Early Years Advisory Team. This will be published later in the year.

With the introduction of Making Maths REAL we now have 46 practitioners trained in over 30 settings. Successful home visits and Maths REAL events have been taking place all over the island. Some of these have included a Friday fish and chip night for children and families, Saturday REAL maths mornings and trips and outings involving shopping and looking for environmental print related to mathematics. These events have been well attended and feedback has been really positive.

Village Pre-School opened the evening showcasing their Making it REAL Maths projects and how it has changed their entire approach to maths throughout their setting.

Stories can be counted on

The 8th evening in our expert Knowledge Makes Change seminar series featured Neil Griffith’s eclectic approach to teaching mathematics in the early years, showing Jersey practitioners the importance of performance throughout their settings and how to turn a basic story sequence into a dramatic journey through maths.

Neil Griffiths was a Primary School headteacher for 13 years before taking on the role of director of a National Literacy Project for the Basic Skills Agency where he introduced his original Storysack idea to schools and communities throughout the UK. After six years, Neil began to devote all of his energies to Storysack® and they are now available worldwide and have won many awards.

He has created award-winning play resources, written a nursery curriculum, a best-selling resource book on creative play, and imaginative material for the Early Learning Centre. He has developed a scheme for supporting English as an additional language and also finds time to write his own children’s picture books, Neil loves to tell a story and a story time with him is a highly entertaining event as he magically draws his audience into his storyworlds.

Useful Resources

Watch Neil's presentation:

Read our dedicated Briefing on Early Mathematics.

Slides from the evening are also available online.