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Children's mathematical and verbal competence in different early education and care programmes in Australia

This study investigated the relationship between children's attendance at different types of early childhood education and care programmes and their mathematical and verbal skills. Analyses of data from 1314 children participating in an Australian longitudinal study, the E4Kids project, revealed no relationship between children's verbal ability and the early childhood education and care programme attended, but mathematics results tell a different story. At the first measurement, children who consistently attended only informal care outperformed children who either consistently attended a formal early childhood education and care service type or attended a mix of formal and informal care. The development of mathematical and verbal competencies between first and second measurements, 1 year later, did not differ between children who attended different types of early childhood education and care. Early childhood educators in Australia are required to provide programmes that incorporate both mathematical concepts and language development. However, many early childhood educators describe uncertainty about how to support children's mathematical learning. Further professional development and support in this area is necessary. (author abstract)
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