Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 29-37

First online:

Mathematics in Early Childhood: Research-Based Rationale and Practical Strategies

  • Sandra M. LinderAffiliated withEugene T. Moore School of Education 407F Tillman Hall, Clemson University
  • , Beth Powers-CostelloAffiliated withCollege of Education, University of South Carolina Email author 
  • , Dolores A. StegelinAffiliated withEugene T. Moore School of Education 401A Tillman Hall, Clemson University Email author 

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Mathematics education is a critical part of the curriculum for students worldwide. The foundation for understanding mathematical concepts related to number sense begins early in life, and early childhood classrooms can provide the seeds for mathematical skills that will be needed later in life. In this article, the authors make a case for meaningful and developmentally appropriate mathematics experiences for young children in diverse early learning settings. Instructional and curricular methods inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach are described as effective ways to teach number concepts to young children from preschool through primary age. Strategies for teachers of young learners are presented in order to strengthen the mathematics curriculum in contemporary early learning settings. The authors’ analysis and recommendations are informed by their extensive experiences including studies in Reggio Emilia early childhood settings (infant toddler, preschool, and primary schools) and their work in early childhood teacher education at their respective universities.


Reggio Emilia Mathematics Number sense