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Our creative maths approach – 5 key principles

Why we do what we do

Exploring maths in creative, active, hands-on ways and learning to play with mathematical ideas will build skills that help everyone – however they feel about maths – in both early and later stages of maths learning.

Maths can be a very divisive subject

People often have strong feelings about maths (they may love it, they may hate it!).

For those who don’t like maths, negative experiences such as time-pressured maths (being put ‘on the spot’) may have caused or can lead to further dislike and, in some cases, full-blown maths anxiety.

Having fun, enjoyable experiences of doing maths can be the start of a change towards a positive attitude.

Family enjoying maths together

5 key principles of Maths on Toast’s creative approach

5 key principles underpin our creative maths approach, helping to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

This understanding of maths concepts lays the foundation for maths mastery and number sense. A wide-range of research and evidence has been consulted to formulate these key principles.*

1. Enjoyment of maths

This shapes a positive mindset and attitude that enables and increases readiness for learning

2. Investigating and making mistakes

Taking the time to explore mathematical ideas and concepts will encourage lateral thinking and problem solving.

Being happy and comfortable to make mistakes and try again can build a confident, can-do and resilient learner.

These are key skills both in mathematics and in everyday life.

3. Learning through hands-on play

Active, child-centred learning is crucial in child development, applicable to maths as with any other area of learning.

Adopting a hands-on learning approach to explore maths concepts early on can support more abstract mathematical thinking and understanding later.

4. Exploring and embracing spatial maths

There is a key correlation between spatial reasoning and maths progression.

Exploring space, shape and measure – known as spatial maths – helps lay the foundation for later maths understanding.

5. Showing maths as real and relatable

Seeing maths in the real-world changes people’s perceptions of it.

Maths is a core life skill as well as a core school subject, it is something you can make, touch and do.

Connecting it to everyday life and the world around us highlights that maths really is everywhere.


Maths Mastery: Gaining a deep understanding of maths concepts and how they are inter-related, for example, being able to choose between ‘multiple methods’ to work an answer out.
Number Sense: A deeper understanding of how numbers work together and the relationship between numbers, for example, understanding why an answer is correct, not just learning that answer ‘off by heart’.
Maths Anxiety: stress, worry, apprehension and discomfort when faced with a maths problem. ‘Performance’ maths – time-pressures and being put on the spot can both cause and exacerbate anxiety.
Spatial Maths: Exploring shape, space and measure and how we understand location, dimensions and properties of objects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by ‘creative’ maths? 

Creative has two meanings for us:

(i) creative and crafty, hands-on making and building (ii) creative thinking, exploring and investigating ideas, problem solving, seeing the bigger picture

How can this help my child at school? 

Being confident and able to explore and test mathematical ideas and techniques and discover and understand the ‘why’ creates an able, resilient and ‘can-do’ maths learner. Having a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts is key to maths learning and progression. Seeing how maths relates and links to so many parts of our everyday life gives learning purpose.

*   For reference sources and research links see >>>