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 one of four installments, this post will teach you everything you need to know about quantification.
This is just the second post in a five-post series giving you all the information and background you need to comfortably teach quantification 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 (You are here.)
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What is Quantification?
Quantification sounds like a big and scary thing, but in actuality, it is one of the first mathematical skills that children learn. It begins very early in life, well before counting and number identification, and researchers believe that even infants and animals have quantitative abilities.
Quantification is the ability to identify sets of objects by automatic recognition. Sometimes it is called subitizing.
Quantification is Really Important, and Here is Why
There are three levels, or stages of quantification and preschool teachers need to know where their children are in the progression in those stages so that they may present play situations and activities that support the abilities of the children. Many adults think of counting as the first step or only way to quantify, but children being to solve mathematical problems well before they can count and name numbers.
The Three Stages of Quantification
The three stages of quantification are as follows:
- making a visual or tactile approximation of a set and attempting to match it with a like set. For example, if a teach makes a tower of blocks, the child may make a tower of the same blocks of approximately the same height. There is no regard to the actual number of blocks, rather more to what appears to be a similar amount.
- selecting a single item in a set to match with another single item, such as giving each item a single numeral name. For example, when given a row of twelve blocks to copy, the child may line up their own set right next to the original, or by frequently looking back at the original set to assure that they are matching the exact same amount, one for one.
- counting the items of an original set and then counting out the exact same amount for a matching set. For example, when looking at a pile of blocks, the child may separate the blocks and count them, assigning each one a number to find the total number of blocks, before attempting to count out their own matching set.
Teaching Quantification Through Play
Math Concept Board for Preschool and Pre-Kinder
SUBITIZING: A FOUNDATIONAL SKILL IN MATHEMATICS
APPLE DROP COUNTING
VALENTINE’S BUTTON DROP COUNTING
Printables that Teach Number Sense
The following are some printables that also teach number sense skills to preschoolers:
FIVE NUMBER IDENTIFICATION PRESCHOOL ACTIVITIES
FIVE COUNTING GAMES FOR PRESCHOOLERS
COUNTING UNITS PRESCHOOL BUNDLE
ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION PRESCHOOL UNIT
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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’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m 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 a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of 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.