Preschoolers exercising mathematical competencies

Säfström, A. I.
Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 23(1):5–27


The purpose of the study is to gain an increased understanding of children’s mathematical practices by describing the interaction between key mathematical concepts. The research question is: How do young children practice mathematical skills at the intersection between early arithmetic and geometry?


The results show that children can use spatial representations when working with numbers, and that they are able to connect spatial and numerical structures. Furthermore, the study shows that children not only use and invent effective procedures, but that they are also able to explain, justify and evaluate such procedures.


The author has designed a series of activities related to numbers, digits and pieces of Lego, and an interview guide with questions and keywords to conduct the session. Eight children participated in pairs, and all four sessions were video recorded. The recordings were made between the early summer of 2011 and the spring of 2012. All the children were in their final year of kindergarten (4–5 years old). All the sessions followed the same structure: The two children and the researcher sat together around a small table in a secluded room in the kindergarten. The activities were based on the ‘interview guide’, but were adapted to the children and the order of events in a way that allowed for free play if the children initiated it.


Säfström, A. I. (2018). “Preschoolers exercising mathematical competencies”. Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 23(1):5–27.