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ECM1100 Early Mathematical Thinking

Semester 3, 2021 Online
Short Description: Early Mathematical Thinking
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 070101 - Teacher Education: Early Child
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 11 April 2021


Examiner: Nicole Delaney


Enrolment is not permitted in ECM1100 if EDX3280 has been previously completed.

Other requisites

Students enrolling in courses which do not follow the recommended enrolment pattern cannot be assured of a developmental learning experience or program completion within their preferred timeframe.


Children’s recognition and representation of numerical, spatial and temporal dimensions begin in infancy, and precede the development of more complex numerical concepts and mathematical reasoning in the early years of childhood. This mathematical learning occurs in multiple facets of everyday life, and is a strong predictor of children’s future educational success. Research, learning frameworks and curricula recognise the importance of early childhood experiences that foster children’s learning and consolidate mathematical ideas necessary for becoming numerate. Early childhood educators therefore need to ensure their ongoing learning of mathematical vocabularies, knowledge and skills in order to provide learning environments and experiences that facilitate children’s mathematical thinking and numeracy development.


This course provides an introduction to cognitive, socio-cultural and multi-modal theories of mathematical thinking in children in the early years. The course introduces pre-service educators to research concerning the pre-verbal development of non-numerical schemas and representation in infants and young children, and to current thinking about the everyday contexts, experiences and interactions through which mathematical constructs are formed. Mathematical learning in home environments will be considered, as will pedagogic approaches that value, build upon and extend the mathematical knowledges and skills that children bring with them to early years' settings. Synergies and continuities of the Early Years Learning Framework and Australia Curriculum will be explored. The course will highlight forms of play-based and intentional learning experiences that encourage children's development and exploration of mathematical concepts, reasoning and problem solving.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course in accordance with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). On successful completion of this course pre-service educators should be able to:

  1. discuss how infants and young children develop and utilise numeracy and mathematical concepts prior to and in the early stages of verbal communication (APST 1.2, 2.5);
  2. explain, using relevant theory, the factors that affect young children’s development of numeracy and mathematical concepts, reasoning and problem solving (APST 1.1, 1.2, 2.5, 5.4);
  3. identify, document and interpret everyday activities and interactions that contribute to and support children’s engagement in numeracy and mathematical learning and the development of mathematical understandings and skills (APST 1.2, 2.5, 3.5);
  4. plan learning experiences for engaging children in numeracy and early mathematical thinking using appropriate resources (APST 2.1, 2.5, 3.3, 3.4);
  5. discuss interpretations and judgements about numeracy and mathematical learning and the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to learners (APST 2.5, 5.2, 5.4);
  6. utilise interpretations and judgements to improve teaching practice and reflect on their own professional learning needs in relation to numeracy and mathematical knowledge and children’s learning (APST 2.5, 5.4, 6.1, 6.4).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Mathematical concepts in everyday life 10.00
2. Examining early mathematics development 20.00
3. The Early Years Learning Framework and Australia Curriculum: synergies and continuities 10.00
4. Key mathematical thinking, language, concepts and processes for birth to eight years 10.00
5. Observing, documenting and interpreting early numeracy experience 20.00
6. Planning for numeracy and mathematics learning 20.00
7. Assessing children's numeracy and mathematics learning and sharing findings with the learners themselves 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Knaus, M & Featherstone, S 2015, Maths is all around you: developing mathematical concepts in the early years, revised edn, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, UK.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Private Study 85.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 22 Dec 2021 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 60 28 Jan 2022 (see note 2)

  1. Inquiry Task
  2. Portfolio

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them, to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

  2. Students are required to demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of academic language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and referencing in all assessment responses. Marks allocated to the aforementioned criteria will be specified in the criteria for assessment of all assessment items.

  3. Students are required to submit ALL assignments to evidence meeting or exceeding the mandatory requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSTs).

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Education and is benchmarked against the:

  1. internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review
  2. Queensland College of Teachers
  3. Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

Other requirements

  1. Participation: Students can expect it will be necessary to participate in and contribute to a range of learning opportunities in this course including online study activities, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, group discussions and self-directed study activities in order to apply the coursework that will enable quality assessment tasks to be submitted as evidence of professional development.

Date printed 11 April 2021