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Supporting Your Child in the Early Years


It is important that children understand and are able to count to 10. There is a lot to counting. It would be helpful if you could practice this skill with your children at home.

These are the stages that a child goes through in order to understand counting: 

• They can count in order to about five but can’t do anything else yet
• They can count objects one at a time
• They can tell you how many there are in a group or set
• They can tell you how many there are when objects are placed in different positions without recounting them, e.g. "there are 6 because you haven't taken any away or added any"
• They can tell you how many there are without seeing them, for example, pennies being dropped into a tin
• They know all about the numbers to ten, for example, they know how many 4 is, that 4 can be made from 1 + 3, 3 + 1, 2 + 2, 1 + 1 + 2, 1 + 1 + 1 + 1
• They can recognise numbers (written numerals) to 10
• They are beginning to visualise, for example, they can tell you they have rolled 3 on a dice without counting the dots

When your child has mastered all these aspects of counting, they are then ready to explore one more/less than, and addition of simple numbers.

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division

Set out groups of two, five or ten objects. Ask the children to work out how many there are altogether by counting in 2s, 5s and 10s pointing to each group as they count.

Make arrays using counters, pennies or toy animals. Count in the same way as above. Turn the array round. Are there still the same number? 




Practice doubling by putting some, for example, tins of food on the floor or table and asking the children to show you double. Repeat this idea for halving (needs to be an even number of tins!)

Make a picnic, for example 2 drinks, 4 sandwiches, 8 tomatoes, 1 apple. Your child then shares each part equally between themselves and you. What will they do with the apple?