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Views of what counts as maths are changing. Linda Pound examines whether revisions to this area of learning and development match up.

Many parents may think they left mathematics at the school gate but, of course, it permeates every aspect of our day-to-day life, from cooking and checking bills to working out how long it will take us to reach home.

Have you ever watched your child playing with mud and wondered what it is that so enthrals them? Their enthusiasm almost certainly lies in a desire to explore and be creative, and such explorations start at a very early age.

Practitioners and teachers play a key role in supporting five- to seven-year-olds to build on the bedrock of thinking skills acquired in the early years.

Help is at hand for settings preparing to offer funded places for two-year-olds in 'Are you ready for me -now I'm 2?'. Its authors, the Cheshire East Early Years and Childcare Team, explain how it supports best practice.

Action research is a form of 'self-reflective enquiry' that can help settings work through points of concern to find workable solutions. Julie McLarnon shows how it works in practice.

It's time to make the planning work for us, say Nicola Bushell and Hayley Cannell, joint managers of Oakey Dokeys Pre-School in Essex.

Lucy and Tom's Christmas offers useful ideas for exploring Christmas traditions and encouraging learning at the same time, says Marianne Sergeant.

The name change from Creative Development to Expressive Arts and Design gives practitioners the chance to rethink how they support creativity within early learning, says Di Chilvers, advisory consultant in early childhood.

In order to think and learn, three- and four-year-olds must believe they can do so. They need support to gain that confidence. Photographs at Trimdon Grange Infant and Nursery School by Guzelian.