Age-related differences in the relation between the home numeracy environment and numeracy skills

Authors


Abstract

The home numeracy environment (HNE) is often predictive of children's early mathematics skills, though the findings are mixed. Overall, research on kindergarten-aged children demonstrates a relation between the HNE and early numeracy skills, whereas findings for preschool-aged children are more equivocal. One potential reason for equivocality of these findings is that previous studies have not accounted for the way different practices may relate to children's mathematics skills at different ages. The purpose of the present study was to explore a potential reason for discrepancies in findings of the relation between the HNE and mathematics skills in preschool. Reports of HNE practices were collected from parents of 184 preschool children (71 three year olds and 113 four year olds) and children were assessed on their numeracy skills. Parents of 4-year-olds engaged in HNE activities more frequently than parents of 3-year-olds. Furthermore, more advanced HNE activities were correlated with numeracy performance of older children, but more basic HNE activities were not correlated with numeracy performance of either age group after accounting for parental education. These findings suggest that nuanced approaches in the way the HNE is measured at different ages may be needed in order to accurately assess relations between developmentally appropriate HNE activities and children's outcomes.

Highlights

  • The relation between specific home numeracy environment practices and children's numeracy skills were compared across preschool aged children (3 and 4 years old). Complex home numeracy environment practices were related to numeracy skills of older children, but basic home numeracy environment practices were only related to numeracy skills with younger children until controlling for parental education. More targeted measurement of the home numeracy environment may be needed in order to fully assess its impact on the development of mathematics cognition.

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