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Preschoolers’ Early Numeracy Skills: Variation in Learners, Learning Environments, and Outcomes

Keting Chen, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Preschool-aged children’s numeracy skills positively relate to their later math learning. Importantly, these skills vary largely before kindergarten entry. Early numeracy environments are one potential reason for these variations. However, the associations between early numeracy environments in both home and childcare settings and children’s numeracy skills have rarely been examined simultaneously. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between home numeracy environments (HNE), childcare numeracy environments (CNE), and preschool-aged children’s numeracy skills. Participants were 131 parent-child dyads and 58 teachers of these children. Children’s numeracy skills were assessed using the Preschool Early Numeracy Screener (Purpura, 2021). Parents provided demographic information (e.g., education and family income), frequency of home numeracy activities, and parents’ knowledge of the developmental trajectories of children’s math skills. Parents also recorded and uploaded two videos of interactions with their children during two activities. The HNE was hypothesized to be comprised of five indicators: (1) parent education, (2) family income, (3) frequency of numeracy activities, (4) parent math knowledge, and (5) parent number talk during the recorded interactions. Teachers provided demographic information (e.g., education), likelihood of engaging children in math activities, and teachers’ knowledge of the developmental trajectories of children’s math skills. The CNE was hypothesized to be comprised of three indicators: (1) teacher education, (2) likelihood of engaging children in math activities, and (3) teacher math knowledge. The HNE constructed by the five indicators yielded a reasonable global fit and was positively associated with children’s numeracy skills. The CNE constructed by the three indicators yielded a perfect global fit but was not significantly associated with children’s numeracy skills. Estimation of a joint model examining associations between HNE, CNE, and numeracy skills yielded reasonable global fit. However, HNE and CNE were negatively correlated, and were not predictive of numeracy skills in the joint model. It is possible that rather than offering cumulative benefits, children’s home or childcare numeracy environment may be compensating for the other.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Developmental psychology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Chen, Keting, "Preschoolers’ Early Numeracy Skills: Variation in Learners, Learning Environments, and Outcomes" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29164605.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI29164605

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