Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Child and Adolescent Development


Emily Slusser


language, math achievement, Numbers, number words, Preschool, socioeconomic status

Subject Areas

Early childhood education; Mathematics


Why are some children entering school unable to count, while others are able to

do simple addition? It may be that early experiences, like practice with numbers and extra resources to promote logical thinking, lay the foundation for how children and adults understand and use math in their everyday lives. The major objectives of this thesis are to explore the 1) link between children's intuitive number sense and their development of exact number concepts, 2) influence of language on early math achievement, and 3) influence of socioeconomic factors on various aspects of cognitive development. Participants included 133 preschool aged children from San José, California, and Middletown, Connecticut. Children's development was assessed in three areas: number language, number sense, and general vocabulary. After completion of the tasks, demographic information, such as family income and education, was collected through surveys sent home to parents. Results show that parent income is related to children's general vocabulary but not related to number language or number sense. General vocabulary is also linked to children's number language, with evidence that the relationship between number sense and general vocabulary is mediated by children's number language.