Embracing numbers: They help us navigate the world
It’s important for children to become familiar with numbers at an early age: Numbers will help them navigate the world. However, the development of numerical skills and a positive attitude towards numbers can be hampered in many ways. We need to be aware of potential problems and counteract them.
When we watch two toddlers figuring out who has more marbles, we are witnessing the development of early numerical skills. These skills influence the development of many other cognitive skills, and affect a child’s chances of doing well in math later on. Achievement in math, in turn, correlates with the likelihood of earning a university degree, landing a good job, and ultimately leading a healthy and happy life.
But children are often exposed to misconceptions about math, such as the stereotype that girls are not particularly good at math. Such misconceptions can reduce children’s motivation to explore the world of numbers. Some children may even develop math anxiety, which can further undermine their motivation and performance.
Parents can promote their children’s early numeracy skills in many playful ways. But they should be patient: Children learn key numerical concepts at different rates, and they require differing amounts of support. The most important thing is to show a positive attitude towards math and keep it fun!