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Language and Communication First last next  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Pupils begin to use ordinal numbers when describing the position of objects e.g. "first", "last", "next".

Early years skill:Numbers
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Number and Algebra
P-scales/Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP48
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Understanding "first"

Lego bricks

Miniature plastic animals and play mobile people.

Two part story sequence pictures

Home made drawings

Play games in a small group lining up at the door or the window. Point out who is first. Change the order and ask 'Who is first now?'

At dinner time comment on what the child takes first. Say 'Look.......first you are eating..........'

Build Lego towers. Take a pile of Lego bricks and say 'What colour do you want first?'

Build a tower yourself and comment on your first colour.

Follow the same routine when choosing pens to do a colouring in picture.

Make a line of plastic animals or Playmobil People. Make sure they all point in the same direction and say 'Look.......... cat is first.' Can the child make a line and answer if you ask 'Who is first?'

Look at the time table for the school day and comment on what comes first.

Use 2 part sequencing stories and comment on what picture comes first. Ask the child to make a story and ask 'What is the first picture?'

Draw pictures of stick men walking in one direction -can the child draw a circle round the first man etc.

Use objects to explain this concept and then move onto work with paper stories etc.

Extend the concept into everyday life as much as possible.

Repeat and repeat examples of first and last in the environment.

Understanding "last"

When the child is familiar with the concept of 'first' use similar activities for teaching 'last'.

As you introduce 'last' contrast it to 'first'. Say 'Look.......this is first, but this is last'.

Understanding "next"

Again follow similar routines to the ones mentioned above. At this stage teach 'next' as a concept that comes between 'first' and 'last' rather than the concept 'next to' . 'Next to' will be taught separately.

Use sequence stories with three parts so that the parts can be labelled 'first' , 'next', and 'last'.

When the child is confident in labelling objects first/next/last start to introduce the concepts to label class room activities. Use a first/next/last template and write (or draw) next to each concept the activity you want the child to do.

Make sure you are teaching this concept with physical things before you teach 'next' for a list of activities.

Use a visual template to help a child order these concepts when you start to use these concepts to label class activities. Otherwise the concepts can seem very abstract and the child might get muddled.

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