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

Improving preschoolers’ number foundations

Researchers: Dr Jo Van Herwegen | Dr Chris Donlan

Project overview


Number sense ‘ also known as the Approximate Number System (ANS) ‘ is our ability to estimate and compare quantities at a glance, without counting them.

Research has shown that ANS in preschoolers is an important predictor for later mathematical difficulties. Around 4 to 14% of all children go on to develop difficulties with learning maths later on in life, and these difficulties can be detected one year before children start school.

This study will focus on children who are at risk for difficulties with learning maths. It will build on previous work by Dr Van Herwegen, who has designed and piloted games to improve preschoolers’ ANS abilities as well as their general maths abilities and working memory.

The study will investigate:

  • Which preschool children are at risk for mathematical learning difficulties
  • Whether the games can improve their ANS abilities
  • Whether improving ANS abilities in these preschoolers has an effect on their mathematical abilities in the short-term, and four months later.

This project will pave the way for a trialled and theoretically based training programme to be established in nurseries and preschools, for preschoolers at risk for mathematical learning difficulties. It also aims to influence educational policy by showing how organised games in preschool settings can give children the number skills and working memory abilities needed for primary school.

A better understanding of the impact of the games could also show how they might help children with less common developmental disorders such as Williams syndrome, who show similar number difficulties.

Latest on this project


Team


  • Dr Jo Van Herwegen
    Kingston University
  • Dr Chris Donlan
    University College London

  • Eleanor Ireland
    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 | 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
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 - 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 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

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
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 - 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

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

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 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

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

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