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Math talk during informal learning activities in Head Start families

Children from low-income backgrounds are at risk for lower mathematical achievement. However, early numerical knowledge amongst children from lower-income families varies widely. Understanding sources of this variation could identify areas to intervene to reduce SES-related differences in math skills. Two sources of this variation were examined in Head Start families: (1) caregivers' and children's talk related to math during a dyadic interaction, and (2) caregiver reports of number-related experiences at home. Frequency of engaging in number-related activities at home predicted children's foundational number skills, such as counting. However, caregivers' talk during the interaction about more advanced number concepts for preschoolers, such as cardinality and ordinal relations, predicted children's advanced number skills that build on these concepts, such as numerical magnitude understanding. Findings suggest that the quantity and quality of number-related experiences that occur in the home can contribute to the variability found in low-income preschoolers' numerical knowledge. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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