• Foundation Phase (Grade R-3) Classroom

    Throughout the early grades, it is envisaged that the teacher will work with small groups of children on the mat while the rest of the class is productively engaged in seatwork activities. These groups should be determined by the children’s stage of development; children who are at a similar stage of development should be in the same group. Each group should consist of between 6 and 8 children and should meet with the teacher on the mat at least 3 to 4 times a week. These teacher-led activities on the mat are used to prepare the children for the next page in the NumberSense Workbook which they will do independently to consolidate the mat work content.


    There are three key activities that need to be transacted on the mat during each session:

    • Counting
    • Manipulating number (breaking down and building up numbers)
    • Solving problems

    Reflection and discussion also form an important part of the teacher-lead routines on the mat, where the teacher will routinely ask “What did you notice?” and “How did you do this?”. While the teacher is working with a group of children on the mat, these same three activities need to be reflected in the written work activities that the rest of the class are busy with.

    Teachers teaching Grade 3 should read both the Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase Classroom notes. The organisation of Grade 3 depends both on the time of the year and the developmental stage of the children in the class.

    Monitoring of children’s work

    The teacher needs to establish a routine by which she monitors the children’s work in the workbooks. The more regularly she does so, the better. At a minimum, she should look at the workbooks of the children in the groups that are coming to the board on the day/afternoon/evening before they do so. This will enable her to anticipate any problems that need discussion (see separate discussion on marking workbooks in the FAQs section). It also makes good sense for the teacher to keep a record, in her mark book or elsewhere, of the page and other progress that each child/group is making. If groups are moving too slowly (less than about 7 pages every 10 days), they will not complete the workbooks assigned for the year and they will effectively be “falling behind”.

    Foundation Phase Classroom Routine Videos