Step 2 (Age 4 or Prekindergarten)

As children become acquainted with the components of number, they extend cardinal counting and conceptual subitizing to larger numbers. The major advances for children at this step who have had opportunities at home or in a care center to learn the previous foundational and achievable number core content involve extending their competency to larger numbers. This means that teachers or caregivers who must support children at different levels, or support a mixture of children who have learned and those who have not had sufficient opportunity to learn the previous number core content, can frequently combine these groups by allowing children to choose set sizes with which they feel comfortable and can succeed (see Box 5-7).

BOX 5-7

Step 2 in the Number Core Age 4 or Prekindergarten

Extend Cardinal Counting and Conceptual Subitizing to Larger Numbers


Children at particular ages/grades may exceed the specified numbers and be able to work correctly with larger numbers. The numbers for each age/grade are the foundational and achievable content for children at this age/grade. The major types of new learning for each age/grade are given in italics. Each level assumes that children have had sufficient learning experiences at the lower level to learn that content; many children can still learn the content at a level without having fully mastered the content at the lower level if they have sufficient time to learn and practice.


Cardinality: Extends conceptual subitizing to 5-groups with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 to see 6 through 10: can see the numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 as 5 + 1, 5 + 2, 5 + 3, 5 + 4, 5 + 5 and can relate these to the fingers (5 on one hand). May do other such numerical compose/decompose patterns also.

Number word list: Continues to extend and learns the irregular teen patterns and extends the early decade twenty to twenty-nine, etc., pattern to higher decades: says 1 to 39.

1-to-1 counting correspondences: Continues to generalize to counting new things and to extend accurate correspondences to larger sets (accuracy will vary with effort): counts accurately 1 to 15 things in a row.

Written number symbols: Continues to learn new symbols if given such learning opportunities: reads 1 to 10; writes some numerals.

Reverses the cardinal counting principle (the count-to-cardinal shift) to count out n things (makes the cardinal-to-count shift): Must have fluent counting to have the attentional space to remember the number to which you’re counting so you can stop there.



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