The importance of learning mathematics is constantly stressed by educationalists and employers alike. Yet survey after survey shows that large numbers of children leave school lacking both competence and interest in mathematics. What is going wrong and what should be done about it?
In Children and Number Martin Hughes proposes a new perspective on children's early attempts to understand mathematics. He describes the surprisingly substantial knowledge about number which children acquire naturally before they start school, and contrasts this with the difficulties presented by the formal written symbolism of mathematics in the classroom. He argues that children need to build links between their informal and their formal understanding of number, and shows what happens when these links are not made.
Children and Number describes many novel ways in which young children can be helped to learn about number. The author shows that the written symbols children often invent for themselves are more meaningful to them than the symbols that they are taught. He presents simple number games for introducing children to mathematical symbols in ways they can appreciate and understand. Dr. Hughes also describes how the computer language LOGO can be adapted for young children, and shows the dramatic effect that LOGO can have on their mathematical understanding.