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The emergence of children’s natural number concepts: Current theoretical challenges

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journal contribution
posted on 22.11.2021, 13:54 by Francesco SellaFrancesco Sella, Emily Slusser, Darko Odic, Attila Krajcsi
Learning the meaning of number words is a lengthy and error-prone process. In this review, we highlight outstanding issues related to current accounts of children’s acquisition of symbolic number knowledge. We maintain that, despite the ability to identify and label small numerical quantities, children do not understand initially that number words refer only to sets of discrete countable items, not to other nonnumerical dimensions. We question the presence of a sudden change in children’s understanding of cardinality, and we report the limits of the give-a-number task. We also highlight that children are still learning the directional property of the counting list, even after acquiring the cardinality principle. Finally, we discuss the role that the Approximate Number System may have in supporting the acquisition of symbolic numbers. We call for improvements in methodological tools and refinement in theoretical understanding of how children learn natural numbers.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Child Development Perspectives

Volume

15

Issue

4

Pages

265-273

Publisher

Wiley

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors. Child Development Perspectives © Society for Research in Child Development.

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Wiley under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Publication date

2021-08-26

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1750-8592

eISSN

1750-8606

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Francesco Sella. Deposit date: 26 October 2021