Original Research

The intersect of early numeracy, vocabulary, executive functions and logical reasoning in Grade R

Hanrie S. Bezuidenhout, Elizabeth Henning
Pythagoras | Vol 43, No 1 | a646 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v43i1.646 | © 2022 Hanrie S. Bezuidenhout, Elizabeth Henning | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 August 2021 | Published: 15 September 2022

About the author(s)

Hanrie S. Bezuidenhout, Department of Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Elizabeth Henning, Department of Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

The current quantitative study, a naturalistic field experiment, was conducted in a public primary school in Soweto, Johannesburg, with the objective to examine how children’s achievement on four assessments at the beginning of Grade R, namely their numeracy, their mathematics-specific vocabulary, their executive functions, and their logical reasoning capabilities, predicted their performance on a numeracy assessment at the beginning of Grade 1. A purposive intact group of 59 participants was assessed at the beginning of their Grade R year and again when they entered Grade 1. The results of the study indicate that, apart from existing or prior numeracy knowledge at the beginning of Grade R, mathematics-specific vocabulary was the strongest predictor for numeracy attainment at the beginning of Grade 1. We suggest that early grade teachers consider young children’s number concept development as a cognitive, developmental psychology phenomenon and that they help learners build a lexicon of mathematics-specific qualifiers in their teaching with words that represent concepts of, among others, space, position, comparison, inclusion, sequence and magnitude.

Keywords

Early numeracy; mathematics-specific vocabulary; number concept development; executive functions; logical reasoning; early grades pedagogy; Grade R

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