Early Years Numeracy

Early Years Research

Recent research clarifies the impact of early childhood education on children’s school success and life chances.  The Early Learning Frameworks helps early childhood education to create these long-term outcomes.

This research links to key principles that  underpin the Early Years Learning Framework:

  • Significance of early learning and the importance of building strong early relationships
  • A more active role for adults in children’s learning during play
  • A greater focus on concept formation within early learning contexts
  • The importance of engaging, responsive and reciprocal learning relationships with children.
  • The diverse cultural contexts of learners
Extract: A Research Paper to inform the development of An Early Years Learning Framework for Australia June 2008

The EYLF developmental milestones:


(In this paper the maths content is mostly under the “cognitive” domain.)

The ACER learning progressions for mathematics


Playing with maths: implications for early childhood mathematics teaching from an implementation study in Melbourne, Australia

Cohrssen, C., Tayler, C., & Cloney, D. (2015). Playing with maths: implications for early childhood mathematics teaching from an implementation study in Melbourne, Australia. Education 3-13, 43(6).


Development of Reporting Scales for Reading and Mathematics: A report describing the process for building the UIS Reporting Scales


A Good Start to Numeracy: Effective Numeracy Strategies from Research and Practice in Early Childhood

Brian Doig, Barry McRae & Ken Rowe

This report is designed to provide early childhood professionals and parents with a basis for identifying effective numeracy strategies, by providing an overview of the research and practice in early childhood
numeracy in the home, the pre-school, and the early years of school.


Dialogue on Early Childhood Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education

This paper reports on the creation of a learning community of early childhood practitioners and researchers. It arose from a forum on Early Childhood Science, Mathematics and Technology Education convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Early Childhood Mathematics Education Research: What is Needed Now?

Bob Perry & Sue Dockett

Are mathematics education researchers studying the aspects of the field that have been identified for further research? This paper provides the beginnings of a discussion around this question by highlighting particular Australasian early childhood mathematics education research endeavours and linking them to recent statements calling for further research in the field.

Note: links directly to PDF (80 KB)


Early Childhood Teachers' Misconceptions about Mathematics Education for Young Children in the United States

This article discusses nine common misconceptions about learning and teaching mathematics for young children that were widespread among prospective and practicing early childhood teachers in the United States.

Misconceptions about Mathematics Education for Young Children

iPlay, iLearn, iGrow

Nicola Yelland & Caja Gilbert

This report presents the findings from a project that used tablet technology with young children (aged 2 to 6 years of age) in three different early childhood settings. The project was designed to explore the possibilities for learning in each setting to determine if the use of tablets is appropriate for this age group.

Note: links directly to PDF (3MB)

www.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/userfiles/files/IBM Report iPlay, iLearn, iGrow.pdf

Learning Stories and Children’s Powerful Mathematics

Bob Perry, Sue Dockett & Elspeth Harley

Published in Early Childhood Research and Practice (ECRP) vol. 9 no. 2

This paper reports work done with preschool educators as part of a research project. It traces how 'powerful ideas' in mathematics were identified in current preschool practice, how they were linked to the Developmental Learning Outcomes in the mandatory curriculum documents, and how the technique of learning stories (narrative assessment) was established as a valid assessment regime compatible with key principles of preschool education. The professional development focus on children’s powerful mathematical ideas, combined with action research that encouraged educators to identify these ideas within children’s experiences and to document these through learning stories, form the basis of this paper.


Mathematics Education in the Early Years: Building Bridges

Glenda Anthony & Margaret Walshaw

Published in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Vol. 10 No. 2

Aligned with the enhanced international commitment to early childhood education, recognition of the importance of providing young children with opportunities to develop mathematical understandings and skills is increasing. Focused on people, relationships and the learning environment, this article draws on a synthesis of research on effective pedagogical practices to describe effective learning communities that can enhance the development of young children's mathematical identities and competencies.


Mathematics in Early Childhood: Exploring the Issue

Nicola Simmons

This paper explores a number of issues relating to mathematics within children’s play experiences in early childhood settings. In particular, what makes mathematical experiences both meaningful and purposeful is considered within the framework of play, as promoted by Te Whariki. In doing so both traditional/instructional and investigative teaching/learning approaches to mathematics and related theories of learning will be briefly examined.

Note: links directly to .doc (67 KB)

www.education.auckland.ac.nz/webdav/site/education/shared/about/research/docs/FOED Papers/Issue 17/ACE_Paper_8_Issue_17.doc

Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity

Christopher T. Cross, Taniesha A. Woods & Heidi Schweingruber (Eds

This report summarises the now substantial literature on learning and teaching mathematics for young children in hopes of catalysing a similar effort in mathematics to that achieved in supporting children's literacy.


Play and Mathematics

Bob Perry & Sue Dockett

Early childhood education draws on a long tradition of play-based curricula. In contrast, mathematics is often regarded as a formal academic subject found in school curricula. Neither of these positions is absolute. Play is an important vehicle for young children’s learning, though it is not the only way that young children learn. Mathematics is also a focus of young children’s learning and, indeed, young children have developed a wide range of significant and powerful mathematics understandings well before they start formal schooling. Many of these understandings will have developed and been refined through play.

Note: need to download PDF from webpage.