Re: October Infants and Toddlers

posted at 10/10/2012 8:17 PM EDT

In response to Trouble30's comment:

she knows numbers up to 20, but when we ask, "how many?" she'll just count up to 20 regardless of how many things there are.

This is because counting by rote (memorizing, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc) is one skill while understanding and producing one to one correspondence is another skill (one to one corr) is being able to point to and count the 3 eggs on the table, fully GETTING that there are 3, not some random number. So when you see a 3 yr old start learning about 1-1 correspondence, you'll see them start well 1.... 2..... 3.... as they are counting the legos on the table, but after they get to 4 or 5 or so they just start counting all of them over again, or randomly, so they can count 5 items as 12 (proudly, by the way). And you just say, let's try it again, and YOU do the touching the object while they use the numbe r- so they can see that each item gets touched once, not multiple times, etc. And they'll get it by 5 yrs old.

One thing you can do to encourage the development of 1 to 1 correspondence is do things that naturally need that - setting the table is one thing - each place gets 1 plate, 1 spoon, 1 fork, 1 glass... "setting the table" for snack is often done in preschool (3 and 4 yr olds) so they can work with 1 to 1 correspondence. And when you walk up the stairs with your child, count each step they step onto "1..... 2... " so they start to physically feel and correspond that 1 number goes to each object.

Counting by rote is still a good skill, so certainly count as you do things, so they know the numbers in order. Just don't think that the rote counting (or rote saying of the alphabet in order) means that they understand the number-ness of things. And that also means that even a child at 2 or 3 who can say their alphabet without any mistakes does NOT know what each letter looks like, or can recognize a B or whatever. They'll get it, it just takes from 3 to 5 years old to get it - and that's what preschool is for!