The beginning of the road: Learning mathematics for the first time

Tamar Ben-Shalom, Andrea Berger, Avishai Henik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this chapter is to describe how numerical knowledge is typically acquired during early childhood. We will focus on the time period between kindergarten and first grade, describing the course of children’s numerical development in this short, yet critical, period of time. This age level is particularly intriguing since it is the first time children engage in a formal and fixed setting in which they learn and internalize the basic principles of numerical knowledge. Children at this age level are expected to learn some basic mathematical rules and concepts. They need to realize that their outside world can be organized in clear concepts of mathematical thinking and reasoning. Among these concepts are basic mathematical procedures (adding and subtracting), concepts of special numbers (such as the concept of zero) and the important associations between numerals and numerical magnitudes. During this period, individual differences can be seen in the ability to learn and execute numerical procedures. We will discuss the up-to-date empirical evidence on typical development of numerical abilities, as well as the various factors contributing to the individual differences in the acquisition of these abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading, Writing, Mathematics and the Developing Brain
Subtitle of host publicationListening to Many Voices
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789400740860
ISBN (Print)9789400740853
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)


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