The Impact on Learning When Families and Educators Act Together to Assist Young Children to Notice, Explore and Discuss Mathematics

  • Ann GervasoniEmail author
  • Bob Perry


Let’s Count is a new Australian early mathematics initiative that aims to promote positive mathematical experiences for young children (3–5 years) as part of families’ everyday activities. The 154 children who experienced Let’s Count in 2013 demonstrated noteworthy growth in their mathematical knowledge from the beginning of their preschool year to its end. On almost every measure, the Let’s Count cohort bettered the performance of the comparison groups, with some measures showing statistically significant differences. This suggests that educators and families working in partnership to assist young children to notice, explore and discuss the mathematics they encounter during everyday experiences had a positive effect on children’s construction of mathematics.



Let’s Count was commissioned by The Smith Family and is supported by the Origin Foundation and developed in partnership with BlackRock Investment Management.


  1. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). The Australian curriculum: Mathematics v2.4. Retrieved from:
  2. Bobis, J. (2002). Is school ready for my child? Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 7(4), 4–8.Google Scholar
  3. Clarke, D. M. (2001). Understanding, assessing and developing young children’s mathematical thinking: Research as powerful tool for professional growth. In J. Bobis, B. Perry, & M. Mitchelmore (Eds.), Numeracy and beyond: Proceedings of the 24th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 9–26). Sydney: MERGA.Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, D., Cheeseman, J., Gervasoni, A., Gronn, D., Horne, M., McDonough, A., et al. (2002). ENRP final report. Melbourne: ACU.Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, B., Clarke, D. M., & Cheeseman, J. (2006). The mathematical knowledge and understanding young children bring to school. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 18(1), 78–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Department of Education, Employment and Training. (2001). Early numeracy interview booklet. Melbourne: Department of Education, Employment and Training.Google Scholar
  7. Fuson, K. (1992). Research on whole number addition and subtraction. In D. A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 243–275). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Gervasoni, A., & Lindenskov, L. (2011). Students with ‘special rights’ for mathematics education. In B. Atweh, M. Graven, W. Secada, & P. Valero (Eds.), Mapping equity and quality in mathematics education (pp. 307–323). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Gervasoni, A., Parish, L., Hadden, T., Turkenburg, K., Bevan, K., Livesey, C., et al. (2011). Insights about children’s understanding of 2-digit and 3-digit numbers. In J. Clark, B. Kissane, J. Mousley, T. Spencer & S. Thornton (Eds.), Mathematics: Traditions and [new] practices. Proceedings of the 23rd biennial conference of The AAMT and the 34th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (Vol. 1, pp. 315–323). Alice Springs: MERGA/AAMT.Google Scholar
  10. Gervasoni, A., Parish, L., Upton, C., Hadden, T., Turkenburg, K., Bevan, K., et al. (2010). Bridging the numeracy gap for students in low SES communities: The power of a whole school approach. In L. Sparrow, B. Kissane, & C. Hurst (Eds.), Shaping the future of mathematics education. Proceedings of the 33rd annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 202–209). Fremantle: MERGA.Google Scholar
  11. Gervasoni, A., & Perry, B. (2013). Children’s mathematical knowledge prior to starting school. In V. Steile (Ed.), Mathematics education: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Proceedings of the 36th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 338–345). Melbourne: MERGA.Google Scholar
  12. Gervasoni, A., & Perry, B. (2015). Children’s mathematical knowledge prior to starting school and implications for transition. In B. Perry, A. MacDonald, & A. Gervasoni (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school—International perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Ginsburg, H. P., & Seo, K.-H. (2000). Preschoolers’ mathematical reading. Teaching Children Mathematics, 7(4), 226–229.Google Scholar
  14. Gould, P. (2000). Count me in too: Creating a choir in the swamp. In Improving numeracy learning: What does the research tell us? Proceedings of the ACER research conference (pp. 23–26). Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  15. Gould, P. (2012). What number knowledge do children have when starting kindergarten in NSW? Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(3), 105–110.Google Scholar
  16. Hunting, R., Bobis, J., Doig, B., English, L., Mousley, J., Mulligan, J., et al. (2012). Mathematical thinking of preschool children in rural and regional Australia: Research and practice. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  17. Mulligan, J. (1998). A research-based framework for assessing early multiplication and division. In C. Kanes, M. Goos & E. Warren (Eds.), Teaching mathematics in new times. Proceedings of the 21st annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (Vol. 2, pp. 404–411). Brisbane: MERGA.Google Scholar
  18. Perry, B., & Dockett, S. (2008). Young children’s access to powerful mathematical ideas. In L. D. English (Ed.), Handbook of international research in mathematics education (2nd ed., pp. 75–108). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Perry, B., & Gervasoni, A. (2012). Let’s Count educators’ handbook. Sydney: Smith Family.Google Scholar
  20. Steffe, L., von Glasersfeld, E., Richards, J., & Cobb, P. (1983). Children’s counting types: Philosophy, theory, and application. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  21. The Smith Family (2013). Who we are. Retrieved from:
  22. Wright, R., Martland, J., & Stafford, A. (2000). Early numeracy: Assessment for teaching and intervention. London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Charles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia

Personalised recommendations