Preschool & Kindergarten Math Milestones

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Your child’s developmental process is unique. To guide you, education experts have mapped a few basic Pre-K & kindergarten math skills to help you track your child’s development in different mathematical areas. Numbers During their third year, many children can tell their age and hold up that many fingers to demonstrate. During the fourth year, many can accurately count up to five items, some can count up to 10, and a few can count to 20. Many four-year-olds can tell what number comes after a given number in a sequence up to 10. For example, if asked “What comes after 1-2-3-4-5-6?” many four-year-olds can answer “7,” and so forth. Given two numbers between one and 10, many five-year-olds can tell which of the two is larger. Geometry: Shapes & Space During the third, fourth and fifth years, children physically explore and gain understanding of the directional words “up,” “down,” “front,” “back,” “over,” “under,” “above,” “on,” “beside,” “next to,” “in front,” “behind,” “inside,” “outside,” “between,” “left,” “right,” etc. By the fifth year, they can accurately use the words in a sentence. During the fourth year, many children can recognize and name shapes with different sizes and orientations (for example, circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles). Many four-year-olds will naturally make shapes that show symmetry without necessarily understanding the concept. For example, they might make a structure with blocks where one side of the structure is identical to the other because it appeals to them. When asked, some four- and five-year-olds can copy a shape from memory after looking at it for several seconds. Some four- and many five-year-olds can use a simple, twodimensional picture map to find an object hidden in an actual, threedimensional room. Measurement During the third and fourth years, many children figure out how to compare two different objects. They might take two pencils and put them side by side and then tell you which is longer. During their fourth year, many children will be able to compare objects using words such as “bigger” and “smaller,” “longer” and “shorter,” “heavier” and “lighter,” and “faster” and “slower.” During the second half of the fourth year, most children will understand that, when given a group of items (like a handful of cookies), if they give one away, they will have less. Or, if you give them another item, they will have more. During the second half of their fourth year, many children will understand different time concepts, such as morning, afternoon, night, earlier, later, and soon. Some children can name the days of the week, and some can name the months and the seasons. By the end of their fourth year, some children may figure out how to measure an object (like a book) by using a number of identical smaller objects, such as paper clips lined up end to end. For example, they might measure and describe their favorite picture book as 35 paper clips long. By the fifth year, most children will be able to look at differentsized containers of the same shape and tell which holds more or less.