Building Teachers’ Confidence in Teaching Counting Skills to Young Children

Resources to help teachers design math learning opportunities around counting and numbers that are intentional, developmentally appropriate, engaging, and playful.

Learning to count is an essential part of children’s early mathematical learning. Counting can be more complex than usually assumed and learning it can be challenging. While children already engage in many aspects of counting throughout everyday life, they also benefit from intentional support to build on their counting knowledge. Teachers of young children need to be able to provide both planned and spontaneous counting opportunities. This can be difficult to do in an authentic way.

The DREME Teacher Educator team created a robust set of professional development materials for teacher educators to use with teachers to grow their confidence in supporting the development of children’s counting and other key early math skills. This blog highlights materials that prepare teachers to support children’s counting skills and number sense.

Preparing to Teach Counting to Young Children

We drew upon research and our own experiences as teacher educators to help teachers design math learning opportunities around counting and numbers that are intentional, developmentally appropriate, engaging, and playful.

Why and What of Counting: Counting is more complex than usually assumed and learning it can be challenging. These resources summarize how young children develop counting knowledge.

Mathematics of Counting: Several different approaches to analyzing and explaining the important math underlying the deceptively simple activity of counting.

The Development of Children’s Counting: Videos of children problem solving, activities for teachers, and readings that explore how children learn counting words and cardinal numbers.

Assessing Counting: Materials about assessment approaches so that teachers can identify what children know about counting and numbers.

Supporting Classroom Practice: Ideas for teachers to develop their own classroom practices that engage young children in counting.

Vignettes: Fictionalized but very real examples about what it’s like to teach and learn to teach counting concepts.

Getting Started: Inspiration to use these materials flexibly, with varied settings, amounts of time, and participants.

Resources Created for and by Teacher Educators

The DREME Teacher Educator website houses a trove of free early math teaching and learning resources, including videos, hands-on activities, handouts, and articles. The materials are flexible and easy to use in a variety of settings, from a professional development workshop to an entire preservice course in teaching math to young children.

The website is organized into modules addressing early math content areas, plus an Overviewsection:

We recognize that children come to school with diverse experiences and math-related knowledge that teachers can harness. Our materials focus on developing the ability of teachers to promote deep mathematical understanding in all children. 

About the Author

The DREME Teacher Educator project offers free, research-based support for prospective and practicing teachers to promote young children’s math learning.