Counting is a part of young children’s daily life. They love to count everything from the stairs they climb to the crackers they eat. But what is counting? What is there to be understood about it? What do most children know about counting? What more is there to be learned? Counting seems very simple; but it is really quite complex. By developing a sophisticated sense of what it is and what kind of counting we ought to emphasize in teaching, parents and teachers can better assist children with the development of those skills and mathematical thinking related to it. © Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
There are a number of Big Ideas in counting that are foundational in early learning environments:
June 5, 2020
Card games provide meaningful practice of the basic number combinations. These common card games that children learn in school or at home can be revisited many times and can be adapted to children’s own math skills as they develop over time.
En Español También. Do you remember enjoying fingerplay songs like 5 Little Monkeys or Un Elefante Se Balanceaba when you were young? You may not have realized that sharing these songs is a great way to bring math to life.
En Español También. Path games are fantastic ways for families to spend time together and have fun while doing math. Path games develop number sense, counting skills and, depending on children’s ages and the tools you use, computational fluency.
En Español También. Going for walks is an excellent time to talk about math with your child. You’ll be surprised how much math talk you can have when you look for the math in your very own neighborhood.
Activities related to counting books can spark a lot of conversation and creativity. These English and Spanish-language activity cards are great for printing and using at home and school.
At Promising Math 2019, Kelly Mix gave a talk about how language promotes the development of numerical cognition in young children. Dr. Mix is the Chair of the Human Development and Quantitative Methodologies department at the University of Maryland.
To encourage and develop children’s counting knowledge, here are eight books (with an accompanying download) that are common to preschool classrooms.
Children love to count. Counting helps them make sense of the world and to find out how many of something. With time and practice, children develop an understanding of the “rules” or principles of counting.
There are all kinds of things to count in pre-k to second grade classrooms. Counting Collections is an activity that develops the Big Ideas of number sense and counting, such as cardinality, one-to-one correspondence, and unitizing.
A second grader has a partial understanding of counting in equal groups. Focus on the Child videos are taken from one-on-one interviews with individual children. The interviews are designed to elicit evidence of children’s mathematical thinking. They are not teaching episodes or formal assessments.