Building Math Skills for Future Success

posted 11/16/20 -- Numeracy is the ability to understand and work with numbers, and something we work on daily in our Head Start classrooms.

The National Research Center has identified the three most relevant principles in early childhood, and there are things that you can do daily to help your child build foundational skills.

The one-to-one principle: Instead of just counting aloud, a child needs to understand that counted items each get their own number. Count daily! To make sure your child understands one-to-one correspondence, have him or her touch each item as they count.

The stable-order principle: “One, three, two,” tells us that we need to help the child understand that numbers have a set order. Start with one to three and work your way up as your child shows mastery of the sequence.

The cardinal principle: After counting items, a child needs to understand that the last number represents the quantity in the set of objects. After your child counts something, ask, “How many did you have?” Many times, children will begin counting the items again. Recalling and understanding that last number is a higher order thinking skill and takes some practice to develop.

Children love to count, especially if you make a game of it. Count the steps it takes to get from the car to the house, count the whiskers on the cat, count the squares on the window. Your child will love it; you can count on that!