Early Mathematics and Phonological Awareness in Two Child Care Settings

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Early Child Development and Care


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Publication Date



Curriculum development during early childhood is informed through an understanding of the cognitive skills that develop concurrently in the earliest years. Extending previous work, this study examined the relationship between early mathematics and phonological awareness (PA) skills for 37 children (14 girls; overall mean age = 47.6 months, SD = 11.17) attending centre or home-based child care. Assessments included the Peabody picture vocabulary test – third edition (PPVT-III), test of early mathematics ability-3 (TEMA-3), and phonological awareness literacy screening. Letter sounds (LS) and name writing (NW) significantly mediated the relationship between PPVT and TEMA, while letter awareness (LA) approached significance as a mediator (p = 0.06). These findings support LeFevre et al.’s [(2010). Pathways to mathematics: Longitudinal predictors of performance. Child Development, 81, 1753–1767] claim that the linguistic pathway is in use for certain components of mathematical performance. Our results suggest a developmental pathway with TEMA skills linked with LA and LS for three- and four-year-olds and NW for four-year-olds. As children develop new skills, changes take place in both domains.