Exploring adults’ awareness of and suggestions for early childhood numerical activities

Esther S. Levenson, Ruthi Barkai, Dina Tirosh, Pessia Tsamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on adults who are neither preschool teachers nor professional caregivers and investigates their beliefs regarding the importance of engaging young children with numerical activities. It also examines the types of numerical activities adults report having observed children engaging with, as well as the types of activities they propose as a way for promoting counting, enumerating, recognizing number symbols, and number composition and decomposition. Findings showed that participants believed to a great extent that engaging young children with numerical activities is important. Most reported that they had observed children engaging with at least some numerical activity. In general, participants relayed more activities and more detailed activities when suggesting activities for each competency, than they did when reporting observed activities. Findings also suggested a need to enhance adults’ knowledge regarding the necessity to promote verbal counting, separate from object counting, as well as to increase adults’ awareness of number composition and decomposition. For mathematics educators wishing to plan workshops for adults, this study offers a method for investigating adults’ knowledge of early numerical activities, as well as a starting point with which to plan appropriate workshops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Adults’ knowledge and beliefs
  • Counting
  • Enumeration
  • Number composition
  • Number symbols
  • Numerical activities

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Education


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