Counting on Counting

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Number sense

Ability to use and understand numbers


The quantity of a set


The symbols we use to represent number (e.g., 1, 2, 3)

More knowledgeable other

A Vygotskian term that refers to peers, caregivers, teachers who are more knowledgeable of the subject at hand

Verbal counting

Saying the counting numbers in order

Object counting

Counting things, including objects, imaginary objects, sounds, and gestures


Actions that result in new quantities, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

Working memory

Our ability to hold in mind and manipulate information over very short periods of time

Conceptual subitizing

The ability to see parts of a set (like two sets of four on a domino) and instantly know the quantity of the whole set

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A brief overview of the development of counting in young children. Counting is more complex than usually assumed and learning it can be challenging. Children learn some aspects of counting in their everyday lives, but benefit from intentional teaching too.  

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