From University of Missouri-Columbia:

IMAGE: David Geary found that preschoolers who better process words associated with numbersand understand the quantities associated with these words are more likely to have success with math when they enter… view more

Credit: MU News Bureau

COLUMBIA, Mo. – While many studies have been conducted on infants’ and preschoolers’ math competencies, few have evaluated how toddlers’ basic mathematics knowledge relates to early elementary school success. Now, in a study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that preschoolers who better process words associated with numbers, such as “three” or “four,” and understand the quantities associated with these words are more likely to have success with math when they enter kindergarten. Findings also reveal that children who have a basic understanding that addition increases quantity and subtraction decreases it are much better prepared for math in school. Scientists contend that emphasis on these two skillsets could lead to greater success in school.

“Our previous 10-year longitudinal study followed first graders and how their basic understanding of numbers and the relations among them puts them on a track for future success in high school and work,” said David Geary, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. “However, there have been few studies that bridge the gap between preschool curricula and later success in early elementary school. Our current study follows kids from preschool to first grade, and we found that future success in mathematics lies in the basic understanding of number words and the quantities they represent.”

Geary and his team including Alex Moore, a postdoctoral fellow, and Kristy vanMarle, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, followed 112 preschool children ranging in ages from 3 to 5 …

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