Very young children's understanding and use of numbers and number symbols
Children grow up surrounded by numerals reflecting various uses of number. In their primary school years they are expected to grasp arithmetical symbols and use measuring devices. While much research on number development has examined children's understanding of numerical concepts and principles, little has investigated their understanding of these symbols. This thesis examines studies of understanding and use of number symbols in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes. It reports several studies on the use of numerals by children aged between 3 and 5 years in Nursery settings in England, Japan and Sweden and their understanding of the meanings of these symbols. 167 children were observed and interviewed individually in the course of participating in a range of practical activities; the activities were designed for the study and considered to be appropriate and interesting for young children. The results are discussed in terms of how they complement existing theories of number development and their relevance to early years mathematics education.