Introducing a child-centered numeracy play-center intervention in three rural preschools in Dennilton, South Africa.
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Preschool education can prevent the loss of potential in vulnerable children in developing countries. The quality of preschool eduction is important, and child-centered education can improve this quality. Therefore, a numeracy play-center was established in three South African preschools. The aim of this study was to observe teacher-child interaction during the intervention, and to test differences in children’s cognitive and numeracy skills after the intervention. The study included 56 children (Mage = 44.18 months, SDage = 5.53) and 9 teachers from three preschools in Dennilton, South Africa. Cognitive skills were measured by the AWMA, Visual Search, Shape Stroop and the PPVT. Numeracy skills were measured by two numeracy tests. Teacher-child interaction was measured by observations during numeracy activities and was scored with the CLASS scoringslist. Before the intervention, the children at the three preschools scored significantly different on three cognitive tests. After the intervention, the tested children scored higher on short term memory and inhibiton. All the children had a significant improvement in their numeracy skills. In the Ndlovu preschools, the teacher-child interaction was improved in the last couple of observations. This study stresses the importance of child-centered education in numeracy learning. It has a positive influence on the numeracy skills of children and the teacher-child interaction. Improvement and continuation of the intervention is needed, so that children will experience the benefits from it troughout their futur educational years.