account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate delete document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share star-full star-open startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Cognitive and educational foundations of preschool mathematics

Researchers: Professor Gaia Scerif | Dr Ann Dowker ...

Project overview


Most research into the foundations of emerging mathematical skills focuses either on non-symbolic “number sense” or on attentional and executive skills.

This project focuses not only on those skills, but also on how exactly preschool children acquire numerical symbols. This is a key predictor of how well children will go on to achieve in maths.

The study will also explore how preschoolers’ informal experiences with maths ‘ for example at home ‘ affect their numeracy development. Although we know that children’s home environment has an impact on their early literacy, less is known about how this affects numeracy.

The project will collect cross-sectional and longitudinal data from preschoolers in order to develop a comprehensive model of the cognitive and educational foundations of numerical skills.

It will do this by:

  • Investigating how general foundations of maths (e.g. attention and executive functions) and specific foundations (e.g. number sense and symbolic understanding) interact with each other over time
  • Assessing the impact of informal educational opportunities in the home and preschool environment on early maths skills
  • Working with cognitive scientists, educational experts and practitioners to explore how future interventions might work in the preschool classroom.

Team


  • Professor Gaia Scerif
    University of Oxford
  • Dr Ann Dowker
    University of Oxford
  • Professor Victoria Murphy
    University of Oxford
  • Professor Daniel Ansari
    University of Western Ontario

  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Exploring the impact of curriculum policy on choice, attainment and destinations

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 - 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Family Nurse Partnership: what works in England and Germany

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Young-child-blurred-in-background-plays-with-abacus-in-foreground-Early-years-employment-pathways-PROJ
New

Education | 2019 - 2020

A systematic review of early years degrees and employment pathways

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 - 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

‘Intractable’ schools: can an Ofsted judgment prevent sustainable improvement?

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Exploring the impact of curriculum policy on choice, attainment and destinations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 - 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Family Nurse Partnership: what works in England and Germany

View project
Maths resit students taking exam
Reported

Education | 2019 - 2020

A new mathematics GCSE curriculum for post-16 resit students

View project
Reported

Education | 2018 - 2018

GCSE and A-level results day project

View project
Reported

Education | 2018 - 2019

Developing a sustainable intervention for disadvantaged children

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
Reported

Education | Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Undermatch in higher education: prevalence, drivers and outcomes

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

The effect of retention and turnover on the teaching workforce

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2019

A follow up survey of break and lunch times in schools

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2018

Modern Foreign Languages, phonics and reading strategies

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2019

A systematic review of the impact of parent-child reading

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2017

School choice and equality of opportunity

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2019

Cognitive and educational foundations of preschool mathematics

View project
Reported

Education | 2016 - 2018

The importance of parental beliefs in parental investment decisions

View project
Search projects

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

Profile