Surprisingly little is known about the extent of children’s knowledge about number beyond their ability to recite, read and write numbers and count quantities of objects. There is little information on the extent to which children are aware of how number is used in their everyday environment or of how much they gain from such early exposure. The extent to which current curriculum frameworks build upon early number knowledge and provide early experience of practical problem‐solving is also unknown. Comparative research was carried out with children in the period before they begin their formal education. The findings suggest that young children may not be equipped with the concepts essential for representing number in the domains of counting and cardinality. The results have implications for early years curricula to ensure a secure base on which to successfully teach number operations and problem‐solving
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