Adults’ awareness of numerical ideas raised by young children

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taking into consideration that young children engage with mathematics outside of the preschool classroom, this study focuses on adults’ awareness of numerical ideas raised by young children without and with adult involvement. Ninety adults in Israel, the majority of whom were parents or grandparents of children aged 3–6 years, participated in this study. None were preschool teachers. Findings indicated that adults who participated in this study showed an awareness of concepts and skills that can be promoted at an early age, mostly of counting (verbal and object counting). Less mentioned by adults were activities related to number composition and decomposition. Building on this awareness, educators can seek to enhance adults’ mathematics knowledge of ways to engage young children with numerical activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-42
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in Mathematics Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Adults
  • awareness
  • early childhood numeracy


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