The life of me

Counting is a complicated process! These are all of the steps…

When asking children to count, you may not realise how many skills you need to be able to count correctly.

After further study during my Masters in Education and experiences of teaching mastery maths… here are the real steps children have to achieve to be able to COUNT anything!

Firstly children need to know the names of numbers. Numbers are often learnt through a range of nursery rhymes such as 5 little ducks and 10 in a bed etc. This gets children remembering the number names and building up the language needed to count.

So after that children can count right?! Nope!

Children may then say:

5,6,2,1 etc

The next step is the need for children to count the numbers in the right order, this is know as the stable order principle.

So now children know the right order for counting and the number names….that it isn’t it?

Children then have to remember to ‘tag’ also known as the 1:1 principle. So children also have to touch each object too.

But that’s not it! A child has to ask remember to say each number name as they touch each object and get it in the right order which is known as synchrony.

So surely after putting all those skills together I can finally count now?!

Wrong! A child then has to track! This means they know which set has already been counted and which set still needs counting.

After all of that is in place, all children have to remember now is that the last number they say is the total of the set known as the cardinality.

Wow! Who would of thought such a simple question like count the cubes could be so confusing for a young child!

The best thing to do is to assess al children using a little tick sheet of these 7 skills to counting. This will help identify which stage every child is at and how you can help them overcome their barriers.

Pre number is extremely important for children and I will go into more detail in my upcoming blogs.

4 thoughts on “Counting is a complicated process! These are all of the steps…

  1. don’t forget the whole concept of conservation of number (the understanding that 5 marbles is the same as 5 pillows is the same as 5 buildings)

    Liked by 1 person

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