Partitioning is a fairly new term within the maths curriculum. It means the same in maths as it does in life. If you build a partition you split a room into two. In maths, partitioning is linked to numbers and it simply means to split a number into its component parts.
Any number can be partitioned: for example 27 can be partitioned into 2 tens and 7 ones. Or even 1 ten and 17 ones or 432 can be partitioned into 4 hundreds, 3 tens and 2 ones
Your child will need to be able to do this in order to be able to perform calculations in the four operations.
Using numicon, base ten equipment or even bundles of straws and single straws will help your child understand this concept. Regardless of the age of your child or his/her mathematical ability, it is helpful to him/her to have something to manipulate when beginning a new topic.
We have worked with many children at the top of the primary school and even with some in secondary schools and always use equipment when starting a new topic. When we first suggest they use it, they usually look at us as if we are crazy. Later they find out we really are! With encouragement and modelling by us on how to use it we always win them round in the end, some do resist longer than others though.
It makes us smile, when a few weeks into our time working with the children, their class teacher tells us that the children in our group have begun asking for the same maths equipment when working in the classroom. That's when we know the children are on their way to success!