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Home to School: Numeracy Practices and Mathematical Identities

Drawing on a perspective of mathematics as situated social practice, we focus on 4 children in an urban preschool classroom and follow those children between home and school sites to shed light on urban children’s persistent underachievement in mathematics. In this article, we describe the ways in which numeracy practices travel with children between home and school and, within those contexts, shape complex and sometimes limited social identities for children. We found that school imperatives, such as assessments and socialization curricula, often obscure teachers’ views of children’s mathematical practices. Deficit assumptions about family and community support for children, and limited interaction between caregivers and teachers, further contribute to the tendency of school personnel to overlook the mathematical practices that children bring with them to school. We further suggest that vignettes drawn from ethnographic-type research such as this have potential for professional development for classroom teachers.