The goal with pre-schoolers in early numeracy is to establish REAL RELATIONSHIPS with numbers to create a solid base that can be built upon as they grow.  There is no doubt that number recognition and learning to count up are important memorisation skills.  However, sometimes we rush through learning smaller numbers and then move as quickly as possible to larger ones.  Let’s try to slow down and look at the number 5 as an important math anchor.

One-to-one correspondence is the knowledge that a certain number relates to a specific quantity of objects.  It is not simply number recognition but moves towards the question: how many items make up any specific number? Make counting part of your everyday life, such as trees on the street or steps into the building.

Subitising is the ability to instantly recognise the number of objects in a small group. To help pre-schoolers with subitising, initially focus on groups of 5 items or less.  When children are able to visually scan a small group of items and intuitively know there are X number of items, they will have developed good subitising skills.  Look around the house, classroom, neighborhood, or community for items that are together in small groups e.g. how many plates are there on the table/how many toothbrushes in the pot/apples in the bowl. Ask children how many there are, without counting.   Count the items to see if the answer is correct!

Encourage pre-schoolers to have PLENTY OF PRACTISE with the numbers 1-5 with number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and subitising. This will encourage pre-schoolers to develop real number relationships in order to build a strong foundation for early math intuition!