Why Play along Maths ?

Who started Play along Maths?

Play along Maths was devised and developed in 1994 by

Lydia Hook, then Senior Nursery Teacher, St Dominic’s Nursery, Airdrie  and

Rona Cheyne, then Home School Community Worker, Community Education, Airdrie.

The programme was piloted and developed with the help and co-operation of the
parents of the children who attended St Dominic's Nursery School.

"Play a long Maths is a marvellous opportunity to encourage parents to play with their children and raise parents' awareness of mathematical language and concepts" (Lydia Hook 1994)

"Play a long Maths has become a highly valued programme in developing partnership between parents and school staff especially in the area of mathematics - an aspect of the curriculum in which parents are traditionally unsure of their role " (Rona Cheyne, 2004)



to develop awareness of Mathematics & Mathematical Language.

to identify activities in the home which promote the skills of sorting, grouping & comparisons.

to highlight the importance of  Language in developing  Mathematical concepts.

to establish a Partnership in Learning between the parents, child and staff

for parents to have a “quality”  time with their child and have FUN

For the CHILD

to build up the child’s Mathematical Vocabulary.

to build up Mathematical Concepts by providing experiences of the language
of sorting, grouping and relationships.

to establish a Partnership in Learning between parents, child and staff   .

for the child to have Fun with their parents and staff.


(1) "I hated Maths"

How often have you heard comments like these from professionals and non-professionals alike? So often parents have had bad experiences with Mathematics themselves that it is very difficult for them not to pass on negative attitudes to their children. In reading , parents wishing to help their children can see many ways of promoting development  by telling stories, talking to their children and  listening  to them talk.

Parents want to help their children with mathematics , they just don't know HOW?!?


(2) Mathematical Concepts and Games

Many parents believe that mathematics is purely concerned with counting and doing sums.

They are unaware that the basis for mathematical development lies in understanding and using concepts such as categorising, sorting, ordering, and relationships.

Mathematics is embedded in the child's own experience of the knowledge and understanding of the world and the language they use to describe their experiences.


These important concepts are developed when children and their parents play with commercial games and toys.

(3) Parent /Child interaction at home

    It is well established by research that the interaction of children with their parents at home has a fundamental effect on children’s learning at school. The child selecting his/her own toys and being encouraged by their parents to play when the child wants to play develops the child's confidence in taking responsibility for his/her own learning .
Parents interacting with their child while playing games at the child's instignation develops the child's awareness of mathematical concepts related to the games

(4) Parent/School interaction

Childrens learning is improved if parents understand what is happening in school and how children are expected to learn.

The interactions between staff and parents, through discussion and feedback at weekly meetings develop and improve home-school relationships.

Play a long Maths brings together these four important factors.

Parents interact with their children while playing games, with both of them becoming aware of the mathematical concepts and vocabulary related to the games, and weekly meetings allow opportunites for parents to meet other parents and staff for feedback and discussion.


Parents' knowledge of Mathematical Language and Concepts is increased

Children's knowledge of Mathematical Language and Concepts is increased.

Child's responsibility for own learning is developed.

Parents' knowledge of Mathematical Language and Concepts is increased


Parent and Child gain in confidence.

Parents and Staff establish a more effective Partnership.

Parents’ knowledge of Mathematical opportunities in the environment (home) is increased.

Parents’ knowledge that Maths is about relationships is increased.

Parents spend more time playing with their child.

Peer learning is an important part of Play along Maths.


Getting Parents involved as early as possible

Using good quality commercial Games which are not obviously mathematical

Having regular Weekly Meetings with staff and parents

Child choosing his/her own toy with parents helping

Keen staff and time for Reflection Meetings

Having a Crêche for the younger children