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Early Math Skills from Preschool Through Kindergarten

Learn About Early Childhood Math Concept Development and Math Curriculum


Updated July 13, 2011

Early math skills are introduced in preschool and kindergarten, usually through play activities. At these levels, children will learn:
  • Numbers represent amounts of objects;
  • Numbers are expressed as spoken words, written words, and written symbols;
  • Using words to count forward and backward from one to ten;
  • To count objects from one to ten;
  • The concepts of add and take away using objects;
  • Concepts of none, more, less, most, smaller, smallest, bigger, biggest;
  • Names of common shapes such as circle, square, triangle, and rectangle and how to recognize those shapes in their environment, as in shapes of doors, signs, and toys;
  • To sort objects by size, shape, and color;
  • Follow simple directions such as, "Show me the one red square, or "Take away one blue crayon."
Children develop at different rates. Most children's skills will develop within these ranges:

Children will learn these skills over time, and will naturally learn them at different rates. Most children will demonstrate their learning receptively before they can respond expressively. Parents should not be overly concerned if their children seem to be learning at rates different from their peers or as their older siblings did at that age.

If you are concerned about your child's progress, learn about the early signs of potential learning disabilities, talk with his teachers, and ask about screening for early detection or full assessment assessment that can help determine if his development is on track or if developmental delays are a possibility.

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