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Number skills are very important in everyday life, and your child should have the basics by the time he or she starts school. Your child needs to know the following concepts:

Rote Counting: counting out loud (at least up to twenty).

Ordinals: Understanding a thing's position in a sequence, such as first, second, third and so on.

Seriation: Being able to sort things from smallest to biggest and vice-versa.

One-to-one Correspondence: Being able to put the right number of objects next to a written number. For example, putting five beads next to the number 5.

Sequencing: Being able to copy and finish a pattern.

Classification: Being able to sort different objects into groups of things that are the same or similar.

You can help your child to develop these skills by:

  • Counting things with them. For example: How many trees are in the field? How many children are playing outside? How many forks do we need to set the table?
  • Counting together from 1 to 20 (or 50, or 100 - you'll be surprised at how well she does).
  • Showing written numbers to your child and helping him to recognize them. Start with just 1 to 10.
  • When you are looking at a group of things with your child, ask her to show you which one is third in line, or fifth, or ninth.
  • Ask your child to help with matching socks when you're folding the laundry. Get him to count how many socks there are, and how many pairs there are when they are folded.
  • Practice basic adding and subtracting with your child. For example: If you have two biscuits and I give you one more, how many will you have? If you have five sweets and you eat three, how many will you have left?
  • Make a pattern with beads on a string, or draw one, and ask your child to copy it.
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