Preschool and Kindergarten Math Skills

Counting and recognizing numbers are among the skills preschool children learn

girl using abacus
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Just because your children are too young for grade school doesn't mean they won't learn a variety of skills in preschool and kindergarten math classes. Small children are capable of learning a great deal about arithmetic. Depending on the preschool, they may learn these techniques in a structured setting, through play activities or both.

With elementary and high schools focusing more on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction than ever, it's important that preschoolers develop age-appropriate math skills.

Learn what your child should be learning in preschool math and at what age with this review. 

Preschool Math Topics

Before entering kindergarten, children enrolled in a quality early education program should have learned the following:

  • Numbers represent amounts of objects;
  • Numbers are expressed as spoken words, written words, and written symbols;
  • Using words to count forward and backward from one to 10;
  • To count objects from one to 10;
  • The concepts of add and take away using objects;
  • Concepts of none, more, less, most, smaller, smallest, bigger, biggest;
  • Names of common shapes such as circle, square, triangle and rectangle and how to recognize those shapes in their environment, as in shapes of doors, signs, and toys;
  • To sort objects by size, shape, and color;
  • Follow simple directions such as, "Show me the one red square," or "Take away one blue crayon."

When Preschoolers Develop Math Skills 

Children don't learn at the same rate or at the same pace.

Just like adults master some skills quicker than others, so do children. That said, most children will begin to develop different math skills during the following age spans: 

Children will learn math skills over time. Most children will demonstrate their learning receptively before they can respond expressively.

Parents should not be overly concerned if their children seem to be learning at rates different from their peers or from their older siblings at that age.

If you are concerned about your child's progress, learn about the early signs of potential learning disabilities. Talk with teachers and ask about screenings for early detection or full assessments that can help determine if the child is developmentally on track or if developmental delays are a possibility.

Wrapping Up

Preschool marks an important time in a child's development. What children learn before grade school can give them an edge or cause them to fall behind as they age. Make sure your child is learning age-appropriate preschool math concepts by speaking with teachers at the school or reviewing these skills at home. If your child appears to be struggling, don't delay getting help. Learning difficulties have the best chance of being resolved if they're addressed early. 

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