"Let your light shine."
(Matthew 5:16)
Living and learning together in the light of God

  1. Our Curriculum
  2. Mathematics
  3. Parents' Guide to Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract model

Parents' Guide to Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract model


At LEH, we use the concrete, pictorial, abstract (CPA) model in our teaching of mathematical concepts.  This system is rooted in allowing children to use apparatus to help them understand a concept.  This can be as simple as a young child learning about adding by taking 3 animal figures and a group of 2 animal figure and putting them together to show that there are 5.  


From this stage we move to pictorial models that support the understanding of this concept.   This may be children drawing 3 figures in a group and 2 figures in another group, showing that there are 5 altogether.  


The final part of this process is moving to an abstract model, using numbers to show a calculation.  E.g. 3 + 2 = 5.   


Teachers make links between the concrete, pictorial and abstract to strengthen the children's understanding.   They will move backwards and forwards between the three throughout their teaching.  


For a more detailed guide on the CPA model, use this link to an explanation for parents.