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Children’s early numeracy in England, Finland and People’s Republic of China

By Pirjo Aunio, Carol Aubrey, Ray Godfrey, Pan Yuejuan and Yan Liu

Abstract

This research investigated the similarities and differences between countries in young children’s early numeracy skills related to age, culture and gender. The participants were five-year-old children from Beijing (People’s Republic of China), England and Finland. The rationale for the cross-cultural comparison originates from the research results with older children showing that Asian children outperform children from America or Europe, and from the lack of such information concerning younger children. The results showed that in all locations the older children performed better than the younger children. Cultural differences were found: young children from Beijing outperformed those from England and Finland in overall early numeracy performance, as well as in sub-tests for understanding of quantities and relations (i.e. relational skills) and counting skills. Finnish children had better scores than English children in the whole early numeracy scale and in the relational scale. The results are discussed in relation to culture, instruction in preschools and learning support at home, as well as the effects of language characteristics. The culture’s appreciation of and approach to mathematics learning in early childhood is a plausible explanation for the cross-cultural differences found in this study

Topics: LB1501, L1
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:146

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