Reconceptualizing Early Mathematics Learning pp 183-203 | Cite as

# Communicating About Number: Fostering Young Children’s Mathematical Orientation in the World

## Abstract

Future citizens need a basic proficiency in mathematics, usually referred to as mathematical literacy. This article argues that mathematical literacy can be fostered from an early age by helping children with exploring their actual play situations from the perspective of number, and with translating number related problems into thinking objects that are accessible for mathematical refinement (i.e. mathematising). Through observational studies of young children’s play it is found that this mathematising can meaningfully take place in the context of young children’s play, and is strongly related children’s learning to communicate about number in a coherent way, rather than by training them on number operations. The article presents evidence from case studies that support the claim that early mathematising in young children involves at least three dimensions: involving children in mathematising activities, helping them to invent symbolic means for referring to number aspects of reality (communicating *with* number), and guided examination of properties of number (communicating *about* number). Its is concluded that young children’s mathematical orientation in the world can be fostered in the context of children’s play under the guidance of a teacher who helps children with improving their way of communicating about number.

## Keywords

Mathematical literacy Mathematising Orientation Communication Play## References

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