Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education

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This chapter discusses important background knowledge and research findings from a variety of disciplines that inform best practices for supporting optimal mathematical achievement in all children. First, discussion will begin with the importance of early numeracy for later academic outcomes, and why prioritization of instruction time and early intervention are needed to increase the likelihood of a strong foundation in numeracy. Second, a brief overview of numeracy development milestones will provide a basis for discussion of our central thesis: language experiences can impact numerical cognition, which then have a significant impact on academic outcomes. Third, given the importance of numeracy skills in academic outcomes, we describe pedagogical trends that are likely to support the development of numerical cognition. This discussion will justify language remediation, increased mathematics talk, and visual-spatial representation as key goals for early intervention programs. Finally, we offer some future directions of research that will further account for underlying mechanisms of numeracy development in very young and preschool-aged children.