Publication Date



Numeracy, Preschool education, Mathematics curriculum


The Commonwealth-funded Project Good Start was a longitudinal study of children during their year before school and the first year of school, involving preschool centres and schools across Australia. It considered the questions: how can effective numeracy programs be identified at both year-before-school and the early years of school; and what constitutes evidence of effectiveness. This report provides a review of the international and Australian research literature on numeracy in early childhood that complements the Department of Education, Science and Training’s major review of the numeracy literature undertaken by Deakin University. It is designed to provide early childhood professionals and parents with a basis for identifying effective numeracy strategies, by providing an overview of the research and practice in early childhood numeracy. The emphasis is on examining the research literature for effective strategies and practices, and summaries of these are presented at the end of each section of the report. The main contexts of numeracy for young children have been used as organizing themes for the results of the synthesis of the research literature. These contexts are: the home; the pre-school; and the early years of school. Following these sections some overarching issues, such as appropriate pedagogy for Indigenous children, are examined. The intended purpose of the review of current research and practice is to stimulate productive discussion of the critical issues in numeracy for the benefit of all future young Australians.

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Vic.


Australian Council for Educational Research


086431 609 7

Geographic Subject


GoodStart.pdf (608 kB)