Whether at home or at school, **naming numbers and counting** has been at the core of preschool mathematics. It is the beginning of developing number sense. But what all should be included?

**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.

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This is just the introductory post in a four-post series giving you all the information and background you need to comfortably teach number sense skills to your preschooler.

Because it is more than just naming numbers and counting.

## What is Number Sense?

Number sense encompasses a broad understanding of the concept of numbers. It refers to a child’s fluidity in numbers, including:

- quantification (knowledge of specific quantities)
- number identification (naming numbers)
- counting with one to one correspondence (each number corresponds to one specific quantity)
- composing numbers (addition)
- decomposing numbers (subtraction)
- understanding of the number system (how numbers relate to one another)
- use of mental math
- understanding of mathematical symbols ( +, -, ÷, x, = )

While not all the above are developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, they are **all interlinking** under the mathematical discipline of number sense. And since many researchers agree that a strong foundation in number sense directly relates to a child’s overall success in math, teaching number sense to preschoolers is a bigger task than simply naming numbers and counting (although that is a big part of it).

## Number Sense is Really Important, and Here is Why

Number sense skills in the early years is a **strong indicator** of overall mathematics achievement. Early childhood educators have the important responsibility of constructing the foundational mathematical knowledge and skills that preschoolers will need for future learning in math. And while this is true for all children, it is especially true of children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. (Source: Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood)

A strong foundation in number sense also teaches children to be flexible in their problem solving. In this, children learn that numbers are meaningful and despite manipulation, their outcomes are constant and sensible. (Source: Teaching Preschool and Kindergarten Math) On the other hand, children who lack in number sense skills have difficulty performing even the most basic mathematical algorithms.

## Components of Teaching Number Sense to Preschoolers

While developing number sense has a broad scope, there are **four components that apply to early childhood education**. When taught deliberately and frequently, children coming from preschool programs who consistently teach these components are better prepared for learning more complex math.

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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.

If you subscribe, you won’t have to worry about missing this important information!

### Quantification

Quantification is the ability to recognize that all numbers are associated with an exact quantity, and the ability to recognize sets of objects, such as dots on a dice. This is sometimes referred to as subitizing.

#### For more information about subitizing, including activities, see the following:

##### Subitizing: a Foundational Skill in Mathematics

##### Apple Drop Counting: a One to One Correspondence and Subitizing Game

##### Valentine’s Button Drop Counting

### Counting

Counting is the skill of matching set of objects with their corresponding number name. This is sometimes referred to as one to one correspondence. It is that ability to count 1, 2, 3, while distinguishing that there are indeed three objects that were counted, no more and no less.

#### For more information about counting, including activities, see the following:

##### What is One to One Correspondence

##### Easy One to One Correspondence Activity

##### Egg Carton Counting

### Number Representation

Number representation is the ability to identify the number that corresponds with a quantity. This is also called number identification or number recognition. For example, it is the ability to identify that the symbol 6 refers to the word “six” and the same quantity.

#### For more information about number representation, including activities, see the following:

##### Number Matching

##### Don’t Feed the Raccoon – a Number Identification Game

##### Dice and Beanbag Toss Game

### Addition and Subtraction

Addition and subtraction skills can easily be introduced in preschool with practice in composing and decomposing numbers. This is the ability to add more to a set, or take some away from a set. During preschool, little mathematical symbols are used.

#### For more information about preschool addition and subtraction, including activities, see the following:

##### Introducing Your Preschooler to Addition

##### Over the Rainbow – an Addition and Subtraction Game

##### Teach Preschoolers Addition and Subtraction

## 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

### Want More of This Guide? Be Sure to Subscribe.

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.

If you subscribe, you won’t have to worry about missing this important information!

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

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