This should be the third post in this series but due to last week’s illness it is the second.
In this post I would like to look at how we can help our toddlers to develop their counting skills. There are two types of counting: rote counting and rational counting.
Rote counting is where you are able to recite the names of the numbers in the correct order. This is a memory exercise and has very little to do with mathematical understanding, but it is a necessary step in children’s counting journey. I never corrected Lizzie if she said the numbers in the incorrect order, I just believed that by hearing the correct order through everyday life, songs and stories she would pick it up
Rational counting is counting with meaning, it is where the child understands that when counting a group of objects, each number refers to one and only one of the objects and that the last number stated is the number of objects.
When Lizzie was 20 months she could recite the numbers one to ten in order’, 10 months later she is beginning to be able to count the number of objects in a given group, where the group has more than two objects in it.
We have always sang lots of counting songs with Lizzie and explicitly counted objects in-front of her and this is why I believe she could rote count well before she was two years old.
Activity of the Week
As I have said before I am a big fan of the sorting pie, but not keen on introducing Lizzie to numerals until her counting is far more consolidated, so I don’t use the counting wheel that comes with the pie. Instead I have made these little shopping lists. We take turns to place the fruits on top of the pictures counting as we go. I think this really helps with developing the idea of 0ne-to-one correspondence as we put one and only one fruit on each picture. This game also helps with turn taking.
When we have placed all the fruit in the correct places, we take turns to ask each other questions, for example: “How many green bananas does the pink dinosaur have?”. Lizzie enjoys these games and loves talking about numbers.