Have you, or someone you know, ever said “I just don’t get math?” It’s a common sentiment for many. The feeling of not understanding numbers, how they relate to one another, or how they are connected to one another can be overwhelming. Without number sense, learning math skills can be problematic. Developing number sense as a critical thinking skill should begin early in a child’s life. Parents play an integral role in helping their child develop number sense. From teaching basic counting sequences to identifying what a number means, parents can take the first step.
3 Steps of Number Sense
Learning to Count
Many children begin VPK or Kindergarten with the ability to count to 10 or 20. They understand the sequence of numbers and can identify the numbers when presented. Parents can practice with children repeating sequences orally and by utilizing math manipulatives, flash cards, and other visual tools to help kids learn to identify the numerals. Use a large calendar, and have your child tell you the date. Use a number line, and ask them to identify specific numbers. Parents can introduce writing numbers to help reinforce the word and numerical connection and increase awareness of number sense.
Sometimes understanding quantity skills happens simultaneously with number identification. Children develop the concept of quantities by using math manipulatives and pairing them to the number. They count 1 manipulative and place it next to the number 1, and so on. Counting out loud together helps them understand for example, that the number 4 means that 4 manipulatives is the associated quantity. Patience is key to any new skill being mastered. Click here for additional ideas, examples and activities.
When your child has developed a number sense for identifying numbers, counting and understanding quantities they will be better-equipped to learn simple computations. Introducing the concepts of addition, 0+1=1, is where it all begins. Our Orlando Catholic School suggests the use of similar items around the home such as: clothespins, marbles, pick-up-sticks, etc. as manipulatives that can be used for simple computation. Flash cards can be homemade on index cards and used to help children identify simple equations with quantities.
Developing a strong number sense builds a sturdy footing for understanding math concepts. Children who develop a strong number sense when young will be successful in computing increasingly difficult problems as they move through each grade level. If your child is struggling to grasp the fundamentals of number sense, be patient and remember that everyone learns at a different speed, and some struggle with math more than others. If it continues to be an area of concern, reach out to your child’s teacher, and together, you can work to help your child learn.
Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.