The Impact of Block Play on Children’s Early Mathematics Skills in Rural Papua New Guinea

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In this study, we explored whether access to block play is beneficial to mathematical learning for young children in a low-income country. The research, conducted in Papua New Guinea, explored if access to Duplo Lego blocks, across a 7-month period, in early childhood education settings facilitated mathematical learning for children, aged from 5 to 7 years. The research design of the research involved an intervention group (n = 23) with children from three playschools who had access to the blocks across a period of 7 months. A comparison group (n = 26) included children from three elementary schools who had usual programming and resources across the period of the intervention. Learning outcomes were assessed using the Schedule for Early Number Assessment. Findings from this exploratory study indicated that children in the intervention group had stronger mathematics skills at the end of the intervention period than children in the comparison group. Findings indicated that access to block play had potential to improve mathematics skills in early childhood settings in Papua New Guinea. Greater access to block play could provide a feasible and affordable intervention to support early mathematical learning with potential to improve mathematical skills through primary school.




Simoncini, K., Forndran, A., Manson, E., Sawi, J., Philip, M., & Kokinai, C. (2020). The Impact of Block Play on Children’s Early Mathematics Skills in Rural Papua New Guinea. International Journal of Early Childhood, 52(1), 77–93.

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