PLUS preschool number learning scheme


Based upon our previous research on number abilities in animals, infants, and infants with neurodevelopmental disorders, Dr Jo Van Herwegen from the Department of Psychology has designed games that support guessing and matching of large numbers in preschool children aged 3 to 5 years old.

From January to April 2013, 60 preschool children in four local nurseries played these games with MSc students on the programme Child Psychology. The aim of this intervention was to see if children can get better in thinking about numbers if they are given the opportunity to play basic number sense games first. The results showed that children who played these games on a daily basis for five weeks performed better on approximate number, counting, and working memory tasks, in contrast to children who did not play the basic number games but read books instead.

The outcome of this study is currently being written up but you can find a snapshot of our study puclished in Nursery World:

Together with Hiwet Costa and Prof Maria Chiara Passolunghi from University of Trieste we have investigated whether the PLUS can generate similar results in preschool children who already attend formal education.



Karmiloff-Smith, A., D’Souza, D., Dekker, T., Van Herwegen, J., Xu, F., Rodic, M., & Ansari, D. (2013). Genetic and environmental vulnerabilities: the importance of cross-syndrome comparisons. PNAS.

Van Herwegen, J., Ansari, D., Xu, F., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2008). Small and large number processing in infants and toddlers with Williams syndrome. Developmental Science 11 (5), 637-643.