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Preschoolers’ math skills can set stage for kindergarten success


Washington: If your preschooler understands the meaning of number words and can manipulate number sets, then she or he is likelier to have an early elementary school success, suggests a recent study.

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 researcher David Geary.

He added, “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 said, “Preschoolers need to have a good understanding of quantities associated with number words and need to have experiences manipulating set sizes. Preschool curricula sometimes covers a lot of things, so what seems important may not be – we want to help narrow the most fundamental concepts down so that kids can continue to be successful throughout their school careers.”

Geary and his team will continue to follow their participants through first grade in this four-year longitudinal study where they will use the same preschool measures to evaluate success.

The study appears in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. (ANI)

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