North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children show understanding of numbers and quantities during play and other activities

Skill Progression: Recognizing number and subitizing

Age: 21-24 Months

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Instantly recognizes amounts of 2 or 3 without counting (two shoes)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child in play with blocks, cars, plastic foods, rocks, or any sets of similar items.

Elicitation Strategy

Play with the child using similar items but in a different space. Observe the child’s play and when two or three of an item are together in a set, ask the child, “How many rocks do you have in your bowl?” Alternatively, say, “Let’s play a game. I’m going to hide some cars behind my back. Watch me and see if you can tell me how many I took.” Let the child watch you pick up two or three items and place them behind you.

Behavior Observed

See if the child can tell you the total amount without having to count the items.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Subitizing, or recognizing a total amount without having to count, is an important foundation for math. Encourage parents to observe their child’s ability to recognize small amounts.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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