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Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

Number sense

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Counting On It : Early Numeracy Development And The Preschool Child, Kate Reid Jul 2016

Counting On It : Early Numeracy Development And The Preschool Child, Kate Reid

Student Learning Processes

Children think mathematically long before they start school. Before children start learning mathematics at school, they show informal understanding of many numeracy concepts. This is informal numeracy knowledge, that is, skills that children develop before starting school that do not depend on written mathematical notation (Purpura & Napoli, 2015). For example, children’s numeracy knowledge is evident in their developing counting skills. It is also evident in their capacity to compare, share, order, estimate and calculate different quantities. Fundamental skills in recognising and responding to numerical cues are apparent in infancy, and, at a very basic level, may be innate. Early numeracy skills influence achievement in school mathematics (Malofeeva, Day, Saco, Young, & Ciancio, 2004; Purpura & Napoli, 2015; Starkey, Klein & Wakeley, 2004). Understanding the importance and development of preschoolers’ numeracy skills is fundamental for those involved in early years education so they can support and encourage children to develop their skills in early learning contexts, and provide appropriate school-entry teaching and learning (Floyd, Hojnoski, & Key, 2006). This review synthesises current research ...