Mathematical language in early childhood settings

Loretta C. Rudd, Matthew c. Lambert, Macy Satterwhite and Amani Zaier have written an article that has recently been published (online first) in Early Childhood Education Journal. The article is entitled: “Mathematical Language in Early Childhood Settings: What Really Counts?” and it presents a study of what kinds of mathematical language that was used in six kindergarten classrooms (ages 0-6). Here is the abstract of the article.

Previous research indicates that, prior to entering kindergarten, most children are exposed to some type of formal or direct mathematics instruction. However, the type of mathematical language and the frequency of its use vary greatly in terms of its emphasis on academic content. This study investigated the types and frequency of mathematical language used in six classrooms for children ranging in age from birth to five years. The study site was a quality early childhood setting at a state university in Southwest. Results indicated that utterances pertaining to spatial relations exceeded any other type of mathematical concepts by approximately twice the frequency. In addition, there was a paucity of higher level mathematical concepts observed. These data suggest a need for enhanced attention to higher level mathematical concepts explored in early childhood settings.

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