Congratulations Agneta, Magnus and Annika!!

The Magical Garden – Supporting Early Mathematics for Preschoolers with different Linguistic Backgrounds

The proposed project aims to support development of number sense ­– the conceptual understanding of numbers – in the increasingly larger population of native speaking Arabic preschoolers with Swedish as a second language (L2) in Swedish preschools.

We will compare the development of number sense in these bilingual children depending on if they have used a Swedish version of Magical Garden (a digital play-&-learn-game targeting early math) during 14 weeks or used an Arabic version of Magical Garden during 7 weeks and thereafter used the Swedish version during 7 weeks.

Children’s conceptual understanding of mathematics at school start is a strong predictor of later math achievement and of general academic achievement. To ensure that no child is left behind, it is essential to gain more knowledge of how to support early math and particularly the development of number sense.

Previous intervention studies have shown the strength of digital learning games. However, this research has been limited to children with the language used in the learning games as their first and native language. The present project however will instead focus on a group at risk of school failure, that is, children with Swedish as their L2.

Along with the practical-pedagogical aim of increasing our knowledge on how to support development of number sense in children with another first language than the majority language in preschool, the study will contribute to basic research. The study could lead to 1) an increased understanding of how language and early math skills are related and 2) an increased understanding of the role of L1 in development and acquisition of number sense.