Picture a ladder. Is your ladder narrow and tall? Will it get you to the top but in a tippy way? Wide ladders give you balance. When we encourage preschoolers to talk about numeracy, we need to be sure we are giving them a broad understanding of numbers. We don’t want those mathematical ladders to fall down in future years!
As your preschooler begins to talk and explore numbers, be sure he or she understands the many names for a number and the many ways to represent this number.
Ask your child to pick a number. I like numbers with meaning like the age of the child. If your child chooses 4, have them find 4 items.
Show the representation of these 4 items, by using dots.
Have children draw their own pictures or even just lines to show the concept of 4.
Write the number 4 using words – four:
Show something broken or torn into 4 pieces:
Other ideas, depending on a child’s understanding include:
Discuss or write the idea of before and after. – “The number before 4 is 3. The number after 4 is 5.”
Write the number four in another language – cuatro
Have your child find everyday objects and use them to show addition sentences:
Count backwards from 4 as this is an important precursor to subtraction:
4, 3, 2, 1 ,0
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