Ready, Set, Go - Maths Numeracy Programme

by Eunice Pitt


The ‘Ready, Set, Go – Maths’ Numeracy Programme was developed by Eunice Pitt in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Steering Group for Numeracy, to help children experience a secure start in early number.  The Programme focuses on strategies and activities to increase pupil achievement in Numeracy in the Infant classes.  If children are to achieve their full Mathematical potential, a vital prerequisite is the establishment of a secure foundation of learning and understanding in early numeracy.


  • A key message of the ‘Ready Set, Go – Maths’ Programme is to have children engaged in active learning to develop numeracy
  • The children are generally working with concrete materials and playing games and activities in small groups. 
  • The emphasis is on developing mathematical language for children to describe the process used.
  •  Teachers place a strong emphasis on engaging children in discussion in order to develop their ability to express their thinking clearly, to support those children who are tentative in expressing themselves orally, and to assess the children’s level of understanding.
  •  Mathematical activities and games are carefully demonstrated and guided by the teacher but a strong emphasis is also placed on activities which entail an element of choice
  • There is a focus on allowing the children to experience success and develop their confidence and self esteem.
  • Regular opportunities are used to see the activities ‘in context’ that is in everyday situations where children can apply their Mathematical ideas e.g. sorting socks, knives and forks at home
  • As parents/guardians you can support your child with Numeracy at home in order to reinforce the work being done in school.



The ‘Ready, Set, Go – Maths’ Numeracy programme is divided into four Strands: (1) Sorting, (2) Relationships and Operations, (3) Counting and Recognition and (4) Understanding Number.


(1)      Sorting

  •  Developing the notion of a set.
  • Sorting sets of objects into discrete sets e.g. a set of pencils, a set of books and a set of crayons.
  • Partition a set of objects into subsets according to one, two or three properties e.g. sorting a set of counters according to colour e.g. a set of blue counters, a set of red counters, a set of green counters.

 How are they the same?, ‘ Why do they belong together?’   ‘How are they different?’   ‘Why does this one not belong?’

  •  Comparing unequal sets – ‘more’, ‘less’ and ‘same’

Same/ Different Belong together/not belong Set/ a set of... Together Words around colour, shape, size etc 
Partition Subsets Logic blocks-words around attributes - words around attributes Combine sets



 (2)      Relationships and Operations

  •  Raising children’s awareness of pattern by engaging them in copying and extending patterns using concrete materials.
  • Helping children to talk about pattern.
  • Prompting children to predict what comes next, and why.

‘Tell me about your pattern’     What colour comes after red each time?’   ‘Tell me what you will put out next?’

  •  Stimulating children to create their own patterns using concrete materials e.g. beads, counters, links, bears etc
  • ‘If you threaded one more bead on to your lace what would it be? Why?’
  • Play offers an excellent opportunity to consolidate and extend their learning about pattern e.g. making models and pictures, printing, cutting and sticking activities.

Pattern What comes next? Tell me about your pattern More –are there more...? Which is more? How many more? Same Less Count all.... 
Subset _ is the same as _ and _ How many...? And....Add Altogether make..... Makes... Take away....leaves... One more is... Rods etc


 (3)      Counting and Recognition

  •  Children engage in counting activities that incorporate physical activity giving a chorus response, group response and individual responses e.g. clapping, stamping  as they count out loud etc
  • Counting forwards as well as counting backwards e.g. from 1 up to 10 and from 10 down to 1 in Junior Infants and from 1 up to 20 and from 20 down to 1 in Senior Infants.
  • As well as counting from 1, children need to be able to count forwards and backwards from different starting numbers.
  • Counting quantities of objects
  • Recognising numerals
  • Ordering numerals
  • Writing numerals

There are a wealth of rhymes to help children learn the forward number words e.g. ‘One,Two, Buckle My Shoe’, ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’. The text of many number rhymes are included on this website for parents to chant at home and are also freely available on u tube or to read in traditional rhyme books for children which can be borrowed from the local library.



Number/counting words Straight lines/curved lines Count forwards/backwards Number line/number track/picture line Hidden number 
Starting number/finishing number What number comes after_; comes before_? Show me... Change places with...



(4)      Understanding Number

  •  The ability to recite the number names in order – 1,2,3,4,5...
  • The ability to match one number to one object.
  • An appreciation that the final number in the count refers to the complete collection and not to the final object counted.
  • Children will match objects to their partners e.g. the bottle top is the partner of the bottle. There are many opportunities to practise this concept during play activities at home also e.g. one cup for each saucer, one lid for each saucepan, one sweet for each bun.
  • Children will understand first, last, after, before and between. Everyday situations can contribute to ideas of after/before e.g. washing hands before lunch, the order of key events in the day, the order of the days in a week.
  • Children will order a set of objects up to 5 (Junior Infants) and up to 10 (Senior Infants) and be able to match a numeral to the correct set of objects e.g. Match the numeral 4 to the set of 4 cars. ‘Why is the line of 4 cars longer than the line of 3 cars?’ ‘Which is more? How many More?’
  • Children will appreciate the conservation of number – that is, the number in a set remains constant even if the objects are rearranged. (Conservation within 5 in Junior Infants and within 10 in Senior Infants) e.g. How many bears are there? (Teacher) I’m spreading them all out. How many are there now?
  • Children will become comfortable with the practice of ‘making a good guess’ such as guessing ‘How many conkers are in the jar? How many sweets in the bag?

Matches/is the partner of... First, second, last... Match the set...same, different, more, less Make patterns of.... 
Which is more 2 or 4...? Are there more ____ or _____? Tell me a number story about... How many more?



Maths Week in Ms. Kinsella's Class

In Ms. Kinsella's class some parents came into the class for Maths week and played maths games with the class - it was so much fun! Ms. Kinsella's class also went on a Maths trail around the school.