Quantification in Early Childhood

Kelly S. Mix, Janellen Huttenlocher and Susan Cohen Levine

in Quantitative Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195123005
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893959 | DOI:
Quantification in Early Childhood

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This chapter reviews the literature on early childhood number concepts, focusing on skills that do not require verbal counting, such as matching equivalent sets or ordering sets of objects, smallest to largest. Studies of young children indicate that, although basic number concepts emerge prior to formal schooling, these concepts develop gradually and with considerable limitations. For example, starting around the third birthday, children begin to match small sets of objects (e.g. two disks = two disks); however, it takes nearly two more years before children can match very disparate object sets (e.g. two flowers = two cats, but not three flowers). Verbal counting ability seems to be related to these later accomplishments. Similarly, three-year-olds can perform simple calculations using objects, but only for very small numerosities. There is a gradual progression in which children become capable of solving parallel problems with larger numerosities or multiple transformations (e.g. 3 + 2 - 1 = 4).

Keywords: cognitive development; number concepts; equivalence; ordinality; calculation

Chapter.  5707 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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