The development of early number sense is critical for children to be able to understand math in later years. There are important developmental skills that all students needs in order to conceptually understand math. If there are gaps in these skills, we need to use intervention in order to fill the gaps so that the child can move forward in their numeracy learning.
Giving your young child a chance to measure things can help her understand both how and why people measure things. Find real measuring jobs for children to work on. Will this table fit here in this space? How tall are you? How much bigger is the plant than it was a month ago?
Teaching children to count involves more than helping them learn the numbers one to ten. It involves helping children understand the meaning of numbers.
Children learn the meaning of numbers when they are developmentally ready. For instance, children ages two to three might move things as they count, but they might count to three while moving four things. This shows that while they might know the numbers in sequence, they are not able to use them to count. At this age, it’s great to count together with a child, just for fun. You might count the steps as you walk up them or the buses as they go by. This helps children begin to move towards matching one thing at a time with the number as they say it.
Young children, even infants, develop essentially non-verbal basic concepts of quantity: more/less, order, same, and adding/subtracting. Children learn most of these things on their own, without much adult help. Children often use these concepts in everyday life, for example, to determine who has more or less ice cream. Children’s concepts and procedures are useful under certain conditions but need to be enriched. (Perhaps that’s why number was invented: the shepherd needs to know not only that he has a lot of sheep, but exactly how many.) This is what children know and what they need to learn at roughly ages three, four and five.
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