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Educational studies of toddlers' number sense and emerging arithmetic skills

Research project
Pågående forskning
Project period
2019 - 2021
Project owner
Department of education, communication and learning

Financier
The Swedish Institute for Educational Research

Short description

The project directs attention to early knowledge of numbers and arithmetic skills and how to support development in preschool education. A pedagogical challenge is to support toddlers’ (1-3-year-olds) competences in a goal-oriented practice, considering that early interventions show large effects in a longitudinal perspective. The DUTTA project contributes knowledge of how children develop from “not knowing” to “knowing” how to use numbers in arithmetical problem solving and develop teaching strategies in preschool. The project is conducted in three preschools during three terms. Data collection and teaching interventions are collectively designed and developed by researchers and preschool teachers. Variation theory of learning is the theoretical framework for interpreting learning and for identifying prosperous teaching strategies.

About the project

Research has given us a quite good idea of what knowledge of numbers and arithmetic skills to expect from preschool children, but far less is known how toddlers (1-3-year-olds) develop from “not knowing” what numbers mean, to “knowing” how to use numbers in basic arithmetical problem solving. Our intention in this project is thereby to empirically investigate what makes this learning occur (or not occur) and thereby provide a model of prosperous teaching strategies based on empirical findings and theoretically solid conclusions.

The project is conducted in three preschools involving 18 toddlers who we will follow for 18 months in play-based interaction and video-documentations of their play with peers in preschool. Data collection and teaching interventions are collectively designed and developed by researchers and preschool teachers. Variation theory of learning is the theoretical framework both for interpreting learning and development and for identifying prosperous teaching strategies.

Project members

The project is lead by professor Camilla Björklund at the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with professor Hanna Palmér at the Linnaeus university and preschool teachers.