**Counting is more than 1, 2, 3!**

Counting is the foundation for most of the math work in **Kindergarten** and **First grade**. Counting is more than knowing the number names, the number order and how to write each number. As adults, counting may seem like a simple skill, but it is actually quite complex. Below are six pieces of the counting puzzle your child needs to grasp to perform well in math.

**6 Concepts to Excel in Math**

**1. Rote Counting – **Students need to **know the number names, as well as their forward and backward order by memory.** The ability to say the numbers in order does not mean that a child understands what those numbers mean. Children **need to use numbers in meaningful ways** to build an understanding of quantity.

**2. One-to-One Correspondence – **Accurately counting requires the child to **understand that each number word is said for one object that is being counted.** Children learn one-to-one correspondence through multiple opportunities to count sets of objects and watching others as they count sets of objects.

**3. Keeping Track – Accurate counting requires the child to be able to keep track of what has been counted and what still needs to be counted.** When first learning to count, children often count some objects more than once and/or don’t count some of the objects in the set. Through multiple opportunities to count sets of objects, students learn ways to organize and keep track of the sets they are counting.

**4. Connecting Numbers to Quantities – **Children who are developing connecting numbers to quantities will count a set of objects saying “1,2,3,4,5”, yet when asked, “How many objects are there?”, they will need to recount to determine there are 5 in the set. **Children sometimes struggle to realize that the last number in the counting sequence is the quantity of the objects counted**.

**5. Conservation – **Children learn that five is always five, whether it is five objects close together or spread out, or five big objects versus five small objects. As children learn to count, they begin **making meaning of the idea that size and location does not change the total quantity**.

**6. Counting by Groups – **Counting objects in equal groups required children to the **rote sequence of the count**. For example, for children to be able to count by 2’s, they must understand the rote sequence for 2’s (2,4,6,8 etc.). They must also realize that **saying one number in this count means two objects are being counted. Children may not develop a meaningful way to count by groups until 2 ^{nd} grade.**

**Master Numbers Now to be Successful in the Future**

It is important that children understand the meaning of counting than just know the number names and order. Mastering math in later grades requires students to have a solid foundation of numbers and counting. Developing these skills early is vital to their future mathematical success.

Written by Jill Mowrey

Information provided by TERC Investigations

**What additional questions do you have about developing math skills in your children?** Ask your questions in the comment section below.

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**Q: ****What is Rote Countng?**

**A: **Rote Counting is the ability to say numbers in order.