Australia’s national education evidence body

Tried and Tested – Early numeracy Download (PDF, 123KB)

A small boy in a blue shirt in an early learning setting, looking at the camera and with his hands on a colourful toy.

Promote children's early numeracy skills

Early Years Learning Framework | All outcomes

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) describes numeracy as the capacity, confidence and disposition to use mathematics in daily life. Mathematics involves understanding about numbers and quantity, operations, patterns, space, measurement and shapes. Numeracy is the application of these mathematical concepts, with skills developing along trajectories from birth. As children’s mathematical capabilities grow, they are increasingly communicated and applied to solve real-world ‘problems’ and build numeracy skills. In the context of early childhood education and care, these problems may include how many cups we need so that every learner has a cup for their water, who has built the tallest tower, or how to make and extend a pattern made with musical instruments.

The EYLF encourages early childhood educators and teachers to support learners’ positive dispositions, knowledge and skills in early numeracy. Learning to apply mathematical ways of thinking helps children to understand, explore and contribute to their world, and become effective communicators and confident and involved learners. As learners build confidence in numeracy, their self-confidence and sense of identity develops, and wellbeing increases.

Evidence-based practices for supporting learners’ early numeracy development in early childhood education and care settings are listed below. Some examples offered may not apply in all contexts and/or may be more suitable for particular learners or age groups.

Key practices

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