Preschool mathematics learning and school transition in Hong Kong

Sui Ngan Sharon NG, Jin SUN

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


The Chinese number system is believed to aid Chinese children in learning mathematics, which may help to explain the differences in mathematics performance between English-speaking and Chinese-speaking children. This chapter discusses Hong Kong Chinese preschool children’s mathematics learning and pre-primary and primary transition from the perspective of language and culture. Hong Kong preschool children have been found to perform better in mathematics compared with their English-speaking peers. Although the Chinese number naming system helps to explain the children’s better performance in learning individual mathematics concepts, this is insufficient in itself to account for the children’s performance. Other factors, such as classroom instruction and cultural beliefs about mathematics learning, may also have an important influence on children’s mathematics performance. Further studies involving teachers have shown that there is top-down pressure for Hong Kong preschools to adopt an academically focused curriculum. The Chinese cultural aspiration for academic success and the quest for a smooth pre-primary and primary transition have led to the use of the traditional drill-and-practice approach for teaching particular advanced mathematics concepts in Hong Kong preschools. The implications of this for early childhood mathematics teaching are discussed. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMathematics and transition to school: International perspectives
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN (Electronic)9789812872159
ISBN (Print)9789812872142
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Ng, S. S. N., & Sun, J. (2015). Preschool mathematics learning and school transition in Hong Kong. In B. Perry, A. Gervasoni, & A. MacDonald (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives (pp. 237-254). Singapore: Springer.


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