Counting to 20, sounds easy enough doesn’t it? If you’ve ever taught a Year 1 class, you might think differently! You might be saying to yourself:
“They know it, great let’s keep going, can they count to 30?”
“How difficult can it be to remember the number 13?”
“Do they always have to do it in a sing song tune?”
Have you ever asked yourself, can they count within 20? That’s the tricky bit. More and more children will be starting Year 1 being able to ‘count’ to 20. When you dig deeper and get them to start at a number other than 0 or 1, they might struggle and it becomes clear that they haven’t mastered the learning.
When children are learning about numbers they have to understand 5 key principles:
- Each object counted must have one and only one number name.
- The number name list must have a fixed order every time a group of objects is counted (i.e. you have to say the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 in the same order each time).
- The order in which the objects are counted doesn’t matter. A child can start with any block and count them.
- The last number name used gives the number of objects in the set.
- The arrangement of the objects to be counted does not affect how many there are.