The importance of the early years

Research provides findings – some surprising – about the importance of maths for young children. Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama explore these, and suggest ways to build up children’s mathematical concepts and skills

NEARLY A CENTURY AGO two giants of psychology gave quite different impressions of the role of maths in the lives and education of young children.

What we know
● Learning maths at an early age is critically important for young children, especially those from disadvantaged communities.
● Educators often underestimate what young children know and can learn about mathematics.
● Using research-based learning trajectories is effective in promoting maths learning.

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October 2009