Teaching number sense in preschool takes careful planning, and this is your ultimate guide to becoming a successful parent-teacher in teaching number sense to your preschooler. As part II of a five post series, this post will teach you everything you need to know about teaching counting in preschool. (And surprisingly, there is a lot to know!)
This is just the third post in a five-post series giving you all the information and background you need to comfortably teach counting skills to your preschooler.
Because it is more than just…well…many preschool teachers can’t identify a definition for quantification, or at least how it applies in the preschool setting.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEACHING NUMBER SENSE IN PRESCHOOL
If you’ve missed the other posts, be sure to read them below!
QUANTIFICATION – PART 1
Counting – Part 2 (You are here).
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What is Preschool Counting?
By definition, counting means to take an account of a group of items to come up with a total. Preschoolers love to count. They relish in participating in counting games, songs, and rhymes, but to truly be capable counters, children must be able to do much more than simply recite 1, 2, 3, and so on.
The Five Stages of Teaching Counting
In fact, according to my favorite book Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood by Sally Moomaw, there are five principles of counting that children must master.
- Stable order is rote counting in the correct order using number names. It is basic 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on. When a child is deloping stable order counting skills he may skip numbers, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6… or may use the same number more than once, 1, 2, 3, 2…
- One-to-one correspondence is the understanding that each item is counted only once and one at a time. For example, when counting a set of counting bears, the child does not count any one bear twice and does not count any bear with another, assigning the same number.
- Cardinally is the understanding that counting is quantitative and the last number named is the total of the group. For example, when a child is counting a group of five butterflies, she counts 1, 2…5 with the understanding that the number of butterflies counted is five, not any of the previous numbers counted.
- The order of counting does not affect the total. For example, when counting a line of buttons, the buttons can be counted forward, backward, or in any order and the total amount will remain the same.
- Eventually, children come to understand that both objects and ideas can be counted. One example of this is actually in phonological awareness lessons where children are asked to listen for and count words in sentences.
Counting is Really Important, and Here’s Why
Research continues to stress the importance of building strong mathematical foundations in preschool because the skills a preschooler brings with them into kindergarten has a strong influence on their trajectory through elementary school. Children who tend to have the highest math scores at the end of first grade are the same children who come into kindergarten knowing how to recite and count to 20. Unfortunately, some studies state that as few as 10% of children entering kindergarten have proficient counting skills. The same study established that the reason for this might be because
The same study established that the reason for this might be because parents often think it the teacher’s responsibility to teach counting, while the teachers pass the responsibility to the parents. Despite who is actually responsible, there is no doubt that without adequate counting skills
Despite who is actually responsible, there is no doubt that without adequate counting skills children have little chance of being successful in mathematics.
Preschool Counting Activities
These are some of the most popular activities or teaching children to count.
O-Shaped Cereal One-to-One Correspondence Counting Activity
Composing Ten Counting Activity
Apple Drop Counting
Egg Carton Counting
Impromptu Lesson on Composing Ten
Preschool Counting Printables
These counting printables are super for circle time or math centers!
Five Counting Games for Preschoolers
Five Little Fishies Song and Printable
Counting 0-20 Lesson Plan Bundle
Dot Counting Cards
Farmer Brown Has Five Red Apples Song and Printable
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Remember, this is just the first installment of a five post series. Over the next few months, I’ll be writing in detail about each of the following components within teaching number sense to preschoolers.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction