7 Key Maths Skills Prep and Primary Students Must Learn

March 16, 2022
Blog posted March 16, 2022 by Megan Ward
Post last modified February 7, 2024
math fractions and apples as a sample on table. interesting math concepts for kids. geometry and mathematics materials

As a teacher, I’ve always wondered if there is a way to teach maths concepts to children in a way they can understand and retain.

Maths can be confusing for even the smartest kids. Most of the time when they get frustrated, they give up and walk away. If they are left to their own devices, they are likely to give up without ever understanding the concept.

This is why I started teaching them math in a way that was fun, memorable and made sense to them. This blog will show you the 7 key maths skills preschoolers and primary school students must learn.

Number Sense

One of the key math skills for preschoolers and primary students is number sense. It is the ability to understand numbers and to reason about them.

Number sense is also known as mathematical thinking. It is one of the first skills that children develop and it is often an important predictor of later mathematics performance.

For example, a study by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) shows that children who have strong number sense tend to perform better in mathematics than children who do not.

It is important that children understand numbers and how they are used to solve problems. Number sense is often referred to as the ability to identify numbers, count, and manipulate numbers in everyday situations.


As you might imagine, problem-solving is one of the most important math skills.

It is important for children to be able to understand how to break down a problem into parts and then put it back together.

This process of breaking a problem into parts and then putting it back together is called decomposition. Decomposition is used in solving word problems and algebraic equations.

Problem-solving is a fundamental skill that helps children understand and manage their everyday lives. It is an essential life skill.

Spatial sense

teacher and kids playing with geometric shapes
teacher and kids playing with geometric shapes, early learning

Spatial sense is about developing a sense of direction, locating objects in space, and understanding spatial relationships.

In the kindergarten years, children begin to make measurements and draw maps. As they grow older, they begin to understand more abstract concepts like distance, shape, and volume.

Children have to learn a lot about these concepts in order to become successful in later grades. This is because many of the abstract concepts in math are used in many other areas of life. For example, geometry is often used to design buildings, roads, and bridges.


mother and son showing their finger covered in blue paint

Measurement is an important skill for students of all ages, but especially for younger ones. It is necessary to know how to measure quantities such as length, area, volume, mass, and distance.

To do this, children have to learn many concepts, including measurement units (like centimeters), measurement procedures, and measurement principles.

It is important to learn the basics of measurement as soon as possible because it is an essential tool for the development of number sense, and eventually, mathematical thinking. 


Estimation is one of the key math skills for preschoolers and primary school children. It is the ability to estimate quantities of objects.

For example, a child can estimate how many cookies he or she will eat for dinner by counting the number of cookies on his or her plate or on a nearby table.

Another example is estimating how many blocks they need to build a tower. For a child to succeed in school, the ability to estimate quantities must be developed.


Early mathematical skill is usually related to visual patterns. It is important that they understand that many of the objects in the world are composed of patterns.

For example, a flower consists of a pattern of petals, a tree trunk consists of a pattern of wood, and a city street consists of a pattern of buildings.

If we can learn to recognize these patterns, we will be able to make sense of the world around us. In fact, this skill is so important that children are tested on their ability to recognize patterns in early grade school.


mother and daughter learning math with fingers at home

Representation is one of the important math skills children need to develop. It is the ability to create a mental picture of something that is hard to understand. Representation involves visualizing a concept by creating mental images.

For example, if you are trying to learn about how multiplication works, you can look at a set of numbers, such as 3 × 4 = 12, and then visualize the result of the multiplication operation.

You can also do this when learning how to solve problems, by breaking down a complex equation into simpler steps.

Final Thoughts

In this day and age, it’s crucial to develop basic math skills for our children. We want them to become self-sufficient and independent thinkers.

Don't risk your child's future, ensure their education is up to standard.

Book your Free Assessment, Learning Consultation, and 2 Weeks of Free Maths or English Tutoring today! ($248 value)

This offer is strictly limited to 5 people per week.

Call iCode School on 5260 1816 to get started.

Post Written by

Megan Ward has over 16 years experience in working directly with children and young people experiencing challenging behaviour. having worked exclusively with families, Australian agencies and with support networks to provide advice around emotional disturbances, guidance and leadership, her the main goal is the positive behaviour alteration, family happiness and harmony. Megan's qualifications include a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and Fine Arts and a Masters in Special Education with a Major in Emotional and Behaviour Disturbances. Megan is the owner of a iCode School, specialising in NDIS tutoring, and support for children with learning disabilities.

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