Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning (SEAL)

At Trinity we use the SEAL approach to teach Numeracy in P1 and 2. This is best taught in small groups where the focus is on talking about strategies and sharing with other pupils. The majority of SEAL learning is oral, with some written activities to support what pupils are learning. From P3 upwards it is used to target pupils who need support with Numeracy.

Children develop and use a range of methods to solve number problems. The strategies they use increase in sophistication as children gain experience and develop better ways of solving problems.

Progression needs to take into account the number range that a child can solve problems within and the sophistication of the strategies used.

The Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning classifies the various strategies used by children into six stages:

Stage Indicators
Stage 0: Emergent Counting – Cannot count visible items

– The child may not know the number words.

– The child cannot coordinate number words with items.

Stage 1: Perceptual Counting – Can count perceived items.

– May involve seeing, hearing or feeling items.

Stage 2: Figurative Counting –  Can count the total of two collections.

–  Counts from one

Stage 3: Initial Number Sequence –  Child uses and understands counting-on rather than counting-from-one.

–  Uses counting on to solve addition and missing addend tasks.

–  May use count-down-from strategies

Stage 4: Intermediate Number Sequence The child uses and understands:– count-down-from strategies- count-down-to strategies

–  The child can choose the most efficient strategy.

Stage 5:Facile Number Sequence The child uses a range of non-count by one strategies:

–  Compensation

–  Using known results

–  Adding to ten

–  Commutativity

–  Subtraction as the inverse of addition

–  Awareness of ten as a teen number

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