Typical Kindergarten Math Curriculum

Goals for Math

Number Blocks
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What will your child learn about math and numbers in kindergarten? What will he or she be expected to know at the end of the kindergarten year? Different states and even different schools may have slightly different goals, but this list can provide you with an idea of what you can expect your child's kindergarten teacher to focus on.

Numbers and Counting

  • Recognize and write numbers (anywhere from 0-10 to 0-30)
  • Name ordinal numbers first through tenth.
  • Show sequencing to 20
  • Demonstrate 1 to 1 correspondence to 20 by pointing to each object as it is counted
  • Count to 10 by 2’s
  • Count to 100 by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s
  • Count backwards from 10

Sorting and Classifying

  • Create sets and sometimes label them with the correct numeral
  • Join and separate sets of objects into equal groups and/or into sets of 0-10 or 0-20 (sometimes also asked to label sets with correct numeral)
  • Sort and classify objects using one or more attributes such as position, shape, size, color, number of corners, etc.
  • Identify half versus whole
  • Separate whole to parts and back to whole.

Shapes and Graphs

  • Recognize and draw the five basic geometric shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval)
  • Identify, copy, create and extend patterns of three objects
  • Make and interpret graphs

Measuring and Comparing

  • Use nonstandard objects, such as pencils, blocks, and hands, to measure length, volume, and weight
  • Compare quantities by estimating, weighing, and measuring
  • Compare measurements and correctly use the terms shorter, longer, taller, heavier, warmer, more, less, etc.
  • Demonstrate understanding of positional relationships (above, below, more, less, top, bottom, before, after, middle, left, right)

Time and Money

  • Identify coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter)
  • Count coins
  • Tell time to the nearest hour
  • Recite the days of the week and months of the year in order

Adding and Subtracting

  • Add and subtract to and from 10 using manipulatives (items that can be picked up, such as pieces of candy)
  • Do simple addition and subtraction problems to 20

What If Your Child Already Knows This Material?

If your child already knows most of this material and is not started kindergarten, you have several options to try. You might try working with the school to get special accommodations to meet your child's needs. That could mean getting your child started in kindergarten early or skipping ahead to first grade, depending on when you discover that your child has already mastered the kindergarten math curriculum.

If your child has the material mastered at age four but won't start kindergarten until she turns five, you can try to get your child started in kindergarten early, at age four instead of five. If your child is already five and about to start kindergarten, you might try getting the school to skip him to first grade.

However, if you go this route, you want to be sure that your child has also mastered most of the rest of what is taught in kindergarten, including social skills. If your child is advanced in math, but is not advanced in reading or reading readiness, early entry or grade skipping may not be the best option. That is true in terms of social skills as well.

In most cases, you are likely to meet with resistance to early entry to kindergarten or grade skipping. In that case, you'll want to see what the school is willing to do to accommodate your child's advanced needs. This, too, can be difficult with kindergarten age children. Many educators do not accept that children so young need anything special. One accommodation you can ask for is that your child be allowed to go to the first grade classroom for math instruction. You can also ask that the teacher provide differentiated instruction for your child in math.

The final option, which is the one that most parents choose (or have to choose since the school won't provide any accommodations) is to supplement work at home. For kids who do well in math and love it, providing extra lessons and work at home isn't pushing. It is most likely their idea of fun. If you are good with math and numbers yourself, you can provide lessons yourself. However, there are also lessons available online, even for young children. The Kahn Academy, for example, has free lessons available on very basic math, starting with counting. Your child can start at any point.

Just remember, your child already enjoys math, so there is no reason to push her. Nurture her interest. Follow her lead. As long as she is interested, let her learn all she wants. That is likely to be a great deal!

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