Reggio-inspired mathematics: number kit

Posted on: November 10th, 2014 by jnovakowski 15 Comments

On Wednesday morning I will be visiting a Kindergarten class at Hamilton Elementary to deliver and introduce the Reggio-inspired mathematics kit looking at number. The kit arrives looking like this…are you wondering what’s inside?


Here is an example of one way to to present the materials:


Ideally, a spot in the classroom could be found so that the materials could be left for students to access when they need or want to. Materials can be pulled to spots in the classroom to set up specific provocations during a math learning time or during a general “centre” time.

In this kit you will find a variety of materials for young students to develop one-to-one correspondence, count, subitize, compose and decompose quantities and represent numbers in different ways.


Easels are provide to present inquiry questions, books or images. The image above shows a focus question to inspire students to investigate different ways of making seven using large gems. Mats of cork or felt provide a boundary for students as well as cushion the sound of the materials on a hard surface.


Wood numerals and printed numerals on cardstock are provided for students to label their representations. Some students enjoy ordering the numerals as well.


A variety of visual tools such as dot patterns on cards, dice and dominoes are in the kit in order to support the development of subitizing (the instant recognition of a quantity of objects/dots). Ten frames made of popsicle sticks are also included. A visual tutorial of how to make these ten frames can be found HERE.


There are picture books and “loose parts” to inspire playful inquiry with numbers.

Part of the professional inquiry that our early primary teachers are entering into this year is considering how Reggio-inspired practices might shift how we view the teaching and learning of mathematics. We will be trying some different approaches with the materials in classrooms and reflect together on how these approaches are supporting student learning and engagement.

More to come…


15 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    Hi! I’m trying to incorporate more reggio inspired provocations in my kindergarten classroom but am struggling to find a way to setup provocations that can be quickly set up or utilized later in the day. I don’t have support to set things up so currently materials are in bins that go in the middle of the table, which can be unfocused and in-inspiring. Any ways you’ve worked around this?

    • jnovakowski says:

      Hi Jess
      I just worked with a K class this morning using this number kit. It took me 5-7 minutes this morning to set up provocations on 4 tables as I had all the materials in the tub. I find it easier when they are all in one place – either stored in a basket or tub or set up in an area of the class. If the materials are already “on display” somewhere, I can easily pull what I need. Today the K students put away the materials (in less than 5 minutes) and my sense is that some of them would easily be able to set things up again themselves. Taking a photo of how you would like a provocation set up (if you are going to do the same or similar things over time) might also be helpful for students or a parent volunteer to refer to. I have also set up provocations as I am sharing them with students so they see the process of setting them up and I am building math language with the students as I do so.
      Hoping others may add to this conversation!

  2. Jenn says:

    Would you be able to share some of the books you included in this set? I love this idea- thank you for sharing!

    • jnovakowski says:

      Most of our classrooms have Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews and Math Fables by Greg Tang but those would be the first two I would recommend because of their focus on using visual tools and decomposition. I included newer books in the kit, hoping that they would be “fresh” for the students. One Cookie, Two Chairs, Three Pairs: Numbers Everywhere by Jane Brocket (part of a great series) and because we are in BC, I chose a selection of counting books from for some place-based experiences to support the notion of bringing in natural materials (pinecones, shells, etc) to supplement this kit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great kit! We need kits like these at the DRC.

  4. Alana says:

    Where did you find the wooden numbers? We need to have some in our room! You always inspire me… 🙂

    • jnovakowski says:

      Hi Alana-
      Both the large wood numbers and the set of smaller numbers in the sectioned box are from Michael’s. They had n alphabet set in a sectioned box as well.

  5. Caroline says:

    Hi! Where can we get the kit? Looks fabulous! I would love to try out some of the ideas shared!

    • jnovakowski says:

      Hi Caroline-
      Not sure where you are located but Richmond and Surrey have the kits available to loan out to teachers in their districts.

  6. Lorena says:

    I’m an ECE and just love the way Richmond is incorporating Reggio in elementary schools! I would love to by the booklet but since I’m in Vancouver I’d prefer to pick it up somewhere. Is that possible? Thank you!

    • jnovakowski says:

      Hi, sorry, we are publishing through and they are print to order. We don’t make any “profit” from the books and didn’t want to be in the book selling business so thought this would be the easiest way to make our work available to others.

  7. Lesley-Anne says:

    Hello I was wondering if this is available to purchase for my son at home/take to work with me (if work at a childcare center)
    Thank you