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: 30-33 Months

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Instantly tells how many with groups of 1-3 items

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe an adult interacting with the child at mealtimes with small bites of food.

Elicitation Strategy

Suggest the adult play a game with the child called, “Tell me how many pieces of food you should get.” Ask the child to tell the adult how many pieces of food (crackers, fruit, meat etc.) the adult should give them, 1, 2, or 3. The adult then places 1-3 pieces of a food item on the plate and asks the child, “Was I right?” The adult is sometimes right or wrong. If the wrong amount is presented, the adult can say, “What did I do wrong?”

Behavior Observed

This is a fun game for the child because she gets to tell the adult what to do! It is fun for adults because they can clearly see what the child understands about numbers.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Encourage parents to play games involving number and subitizing or guessing amounts of from one to four. Being able to look at a small number of items and mentally know the amount will help children when they need to understand sets in math later.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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