Ten primaries will place mental and oral skills in basic arithmetic top of revised teaching methods in an intervention project aimed at children in nursery and pupils in their first two years of school.
Nursery nurses will work alongside infant teachers and concentrate on basic number work. The pilot scheme emulates the continuing success of the intervention work on reading and writing.
John Tease, a mathematics adviser, said there was clear research evidence for the focus on mental and oral counting skills. "We will be trying to develop mental competence in children. We were very good at it in the old days. If children can count from an early age, their mathematical ability will be improved."
Edinburgh has taken its lead from work in Birmingham and other developments on numeracy south of the border. The scheme is financed by the Government's New Deal windfall.
Two development officers will develop materials.