The Core of Mathematics


This page is about a Norwegian mathematics textbook for early childhood education teacher training.


Authors: Anne Hj. Nakken og Oliver Thiel


Target group: Early Childhood teacher students and everyone who works with mathematics for children


Subject: Mathematics and mathematics education


The Core of Mathematics is what is most fundamental in mathematics

When using the metaphor "The Core of Mathematics" («matematikkens kjerne») as title of this book we refer to the most fundamental in mathematics. The core of mathematics is what everyone has to experience and reason around to be able to understand math. The core is the starting point for the development of mathematical knowledge, and is the foundation on which everything else is built within the subject mathematics. Meeting and understanding the core of mathematics has to be part of every child's safe base. Research shows that children in early childhood meet and develop understanding of the core of mathematics.


Mathematics is all about thinking

Mathematics is all about thinking, and to understand the world that surrounds us. By using their body and senses, and in interaction with the environment and other people, children show us that they want to discover structures and create meaning.

To develop mathematical understanding children must make their own experiences and think around them. The children's interest for mathematics needs a response. Early childhood teachers must have both knowledge and enthusiasm in meeting young mathematicians who explore the core of mathematics. Children explore the core outside as well as inside, in the play, everyday life and activities that the teacher initiates. This is closely related to creativity, joy and interaction.

A safe base

In a world that is constantly changing, it is important that we stimulate children to be flexible and creative individuals. Children need a safe base of knowledge and values that will help them to maneuver in a world where everything is happening increasingly faster. Children start to develop this safe base the day they are born. This base consists of a wide range of skills and knowledge. The core of mathematics is an essential part of this base, because mathematics is all about connections and structures that are permanent and predictable. Children need to develop their mathematics in order to understand how our world fits together and works. Mathematics is essential for us to be able to understand each other, and to create balance, order and beauty around us.


What is the content of the core of mathematics?

This cannot be answered with one word or one phrase. It takes plenty of time to explore and discover everything that belongs to the core of mathematics – time when children play or participate in everyday activities in the nursery. We as writers use this whole book to show you what the core of mathematics is, and how you can work with it in a meaningful way in early childhood education.


The authors

Anne Hjønnevåg Nakken is project leader at the Norwegian Centre for Mathematics Education. She has worked at Queen Maud University College for 9 years teaching early childhood mathematics. She has completed several projects related to mathematics for children aged 0-6 years and is widely used as a speaker for employees at early childhood institutions.

Oliver Thiel is Associate Professor at Queen Maud University College. He has been teaching mathematics education for many years, both in Germany and Norway. He has conducted several research projects related to children's learning and understanding of mathematics, as well as the early childhood teacher's role in children's mathematical development.


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This homepage has been startet by Dr. Oliver Thiel October 23th, 2009. Latest changes took place April 11th, 2017.