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The Home Environments supporting Learning Mathematics (HELM), project has been developed to increase understanding of the Home Mathematics Environment (HME) and its impact on early mathematical development in low-to-middle income countries (i.e. Cuba and Mexico).

Through the use of robust research methods this project will aim to investigate cross-cultural differences in home environment activities and their link to early mathematical learning.

Project objectives

The project involves four work packages:

  1. Systematic review on ‘Home-based numeracy and literacy interventions to improve learning for children between the ages of 3 and 5’. This review will aim to synthesise the existing literature in order to understand what interventions work in different contexts and why they are effective.
  2. Qualitative interviews with parents to explore cross-cultural differences in home numeracy practices in low-to-middle income countries to inform a previously designed questionnaire; Pre-school Home Maths Questionnaire (PHMQ).
  3. Assessing the home numeracy environment and its influence. Parents will complete the updated Pre-school Home Maths Questionnaire and an access to resource questionnaire. Children will complete an early numeracy skills standardised test.
  4. (Assessing the concurrence between questionnaire based and objective conversational measures of the home environment, the first three of the four work packages are underway. The aim will be to disentangle if higher frequency of home maths activities is related to more mathematical talk between parents and children in the home across three sites; Northern Ireland, Cuba and Mexico.

The project is led by:

  • Dr Victoria Simms - Ulster University
  • Dr Abbie Cahoon - Ulster University
  • Dr Carolina Jimenèz Lira - Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua
  • Daniela Paazg - Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua
  • Dr Nancy Estevez - Cuban Centre for Neuroscience
  • Yanet Campver - Cuban Centre for Neuroscience

This project is funded by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) through the British Academy.

The research project addresses the United Nations sustainable development goals of equal access to quality pre-primary education.