Numeracy is the ability to use mathematics in a variety of situations. This includes understanding the role of mathematics in the world and being able to use mathematical knowledge and skills for a specific purpose.
These are the mathematical disciplines that you will study in this book. There are many different aspects of math that people experience in their everyday lives. Some of these includenumber, measurement and geometry, statistics, and probability. Another important aspect of math isalgebra, functions and relations, logic, mathematical structure, and working mathematically. All of these disciplines are important in understanding the natural and human worlds, and the interaction between them.
Why Numeracy Is Important
Babies and toddlers rapidly learn and develop during their first years. They can recognize numbers, patterns, and shapes and use these math concepts to make sense of their world and connect them with their environment and everyday activities. For example, when playing, children may sort or choose toys based on size, shape, weight, or color.
While it is mostly the mathematics learning area that teaches concepts and skills to support numeracy, it is beneficial for students to partake in activities that relate their learning in the mathematics classroom to other curriculum areas.
As they move through their years of schooling, students are exposed to mathematical:
The ability for students to use mathematics to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently in both familiar and unfamiliar situations is important (VCAA, 2017).
Other areas of development, such as resilience and perseverance, also appear to contribute to success in numeracy.
Mathematics gives students the ability to understand and work with important mathematical concepts, principles and skills. Numeracy allows them to see the connections between their mathematical learning and the world around them, both in their personal lives and in the workplace.
Increasingly, numeracy skills are necessary for cultural, social, economic, and technological advancement.
Numeracy Across the Curriculum
Being knowledgeable in math goes beyond just being able to do the basics. It means being able to connect what you learn in school to real world situations that require problem solving, making judgments, and understanding data.
Learning activities presented draw upon the conceptual framework of Goos, Geiger, and Dole (2014; also discussed in Goos, Geiger, Dole, Forgasz, and Bennison, 2019). In this framework, numeracy is conceptualized as comprising four elements and an orientation:
is an integral part of the curriculum. Attention to real-life contexts, such as citizenship, work, and personal and social life, is an integral part of the curriculum.
Application of mathematical knowledge (problem-solving, estimation, concepts, and skills)
Use of tools (representational, physical, and digital)
is essential for developing a productive mathematical disposition. It is essential to develop a productive mathematical disposition by promoting positive dispositions towards the use of mathematics to solve problems encountered in day-to-day life (confidence, flexibility, initiative, and risk).
is essential for success as a mathematics teacher. A teacher’s success in mathematics requires the ability to interpret results and make decisions based on evidence.
The resources highlight what numeracy is concerning each learning area, and outline why it is important to develop students’ numeracy capabilities within the learning area. Guidance is provided for teachers on the following:
- how to embed numeracy in their learning area
- how to assess numeracy learning
- how to deal with challenges and dilemmas using strategies recommended by experts.
The activity is described in term of a subject-specific learning intention and a content descriptor. The numeracy content and skills related to the activity are highlighted and explained, with a particular focus on how the numeracy links enhance the learning area’s specific concepts. A direct link to the Victorian Curriculum: Mathematics is provided to show the connection between the activity and the students’ previously developed mathematical skills and understandings. The VCAA has detailed information regarding the numeracy demands of the Victorian Curriculum on the Numeracy page of the website.
Mathematics Is Everywhere
We all use mathematics to navigate our everyday lives. Children gain their first experiences with mathematical concepts from birth and, with the proper support, will learn to use them to think about and communicate ideas relating to the world around them.
It is essential for children to understand and use mathematical concepts so that they can describe the world around them and make sense of what they encounter. This will help them be successful in daily life. research suggests that being good at mathematics and numeracy will help children be confident and capable learners as they navigate the increasingly complex global community of the 21st century.
Children who are positive and engaged in their learning process tend to be confident and successful. They also are able to help contribute positively to other children’s learning experiences. They develop useful skillsets and abilities that help them succeed in problem-solving, experimenting, and investigating.
The adults in children’s lives play a crucial role in introducing them to mathematics and encouraging them to be curious and enthusiastic about it. From a very young age, adults can involve children in using mathematics to understand and participate in their world.
If we can teach children to be confident and engaged in their mathematics learning, it will have benefits not just for them, but for everyone. When children are given opportunities to discuss their ideas, make plans, try new skills, and think through solutions to problems, they become more confident and involved in their learning. This leads to positive attitudees towards learning, and more success in achieving challenging goals.
Numeracy in Early Childhood
##### Numeracy is knowing how to use math in everyday life. Kids learn math by solving problems. The math ideas that kids learn should be relevant and important to their current lives. Spatial sense ( like being able to visualize things), structure and pattern, number, measurement, data argumentation ( being able to argue using data), connections (seeing how different things are related), and exploring the world mathematically are all important ideas for kids to know in order to be good at math.
When planning early childhood education programs, educators often wonder if concepts like algebra and statistics will be relevant to their students. However, children are constantly learning by exploring the world around them and developing explanations for what they observe. With the right encouragement and instruction, children can learn to reflect on their thinking processes, approaches to learning, and use mathematics in their everyday lives. This resource provides examples of ways that educators can support numeracy learning and development in children from birth to age five.
The ideas in this resource are just some of the ways that educators can help promote numeracy learning in programs for young children. Educators can use these ideas as a starting point and then build on them by working with colleagues, children, and families. The resource includes links to more materials that educators can use to supplement the ideas in this resource.