DO PARENT-CHILD MATH ACTIVITIES ADD UP? A HOME NUMERACY ENVIRONMENT INTERVENTION FOR PARENTS OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
2019-01-03T20:21:47Z (GMT) by
Early numeracy skills are related to children’s later mathematics and reading skills. Early interventions that target parent-child numeracy practices may be an effective way to promote these skills in young children. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a home numeracy environment (HNE) intervention in increasing preschool children’s early numeracy skills through a randomized controlled trial. The intervention was designed to incorporate practices that have been shown to improve children’s numeracy development, in addition to a number of practices that have been shown to lead to effective outcomes for parenting interventions more broadly. Parents were randomly assigned to participate in either the HNE intervention or an active comparison condition. Both groups of parents attended a brief informational meeting and received daily text messages for four weeks; parents in the intervention group received information about the importance of early mathematics development and strategies for incorporating numeracy into their children’s daily routines and parents in the active comparison condition received information on general development in preschool. Before and after the intervention, parents completed a questionnaire on their numeracy beliefs and practices, and children were assessed on their early numeracy skills. Findings indicate that, compared to parents in the comparison condition, parents who participated in the intervention reported more frequent direct HNE activities and their children showed greater improvement on numeracy skills. There were no group differences on beliefs of importance of math, self-efficacy for teaching math, or engagement in indirect HNE practices. The study provides initial evidence that a brief HNE intervention is feasible for parents to implement and is effective in improving preschool children’s numeracy skills.