Children start learning math the moment they start exploring the world. From everyday experiences, children gradually learn about math concepts, as each math skill builds on what they already know. While children are not introduced to basic math topics until kindergarten, research shows that early math learning is crucial for later math success. As stated by psychologist Greg J. Duncan, “early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills” in school readiness and later achievement. Indeed, the more math-oriented activities children do before kindergarten, the better they will understand math in school. Establishing a solid math foundation in early ages can help children develop higher aptitude in high school math and increase their rates of post-secondary enrollment.

## Math for Babies (ages 0-12 months)

At the ages 0 to 2 months, babies begin to understand first-level math concepts:

- Predict the sequence of events such as running water means bath time
- Understand basic cause and effect such as shaking a rattle makes noise
- Classify things in simple ways
- Understand relative size
- Understand words that describe quantities such as ‘more’, ‘ bigger’, and ‘enough’

## Math for Toddlers (ages 1-2 years)

At the ages 1 to 2 years, toddlers develop math skills with their learning toys:

- Connect the relationship between numbers and ‘how many’
- Begin reciting numbers with the possibility of skipping some of them
- Understand words that compare or measure things such as ‘under’, ‘behind’, ‘inside’, ‘longer’, and ‘faster’
- Match basic shapes and develop one-to-one correspondence
- Explore measurement and learn concepts about volume by filling and emptying containers
- Understand patterns in daily routines or surroundings

## Math for Preschoolers (ages 3-4 years)

At the ages 3 to 4 years, preschoolers tie math concepts with their environments:

- Recognize shapes in real world
- Sort and arrange objects by colour, shape, size, or purpose
- Compare and contrast using classifications such as height, size, or gender
- Count up to at least 20
- Connect the relationship between numerals and number names (
*5 stands for five*) - Use spatial awareness to put puzzles together
- Start predicting cause and effect (
*what would happen if…*)

## Math for Kindergarteners (age 5 years)

At the ages 5 years, kindergarteners build upon their previous knowledge, and start to understand more complex math ideas:

- Add by counting the fingers from one hand starting 1 to 5, and starting with 6 on another hand
- Compare two numbers, and identify which one is larger/smaller
- Copy or draw symmetrical shapes
- Begin to understand basic time concepts such as morning or days of the week
- Follow multi-step instructions that use words like ‘first’ and ‘next’
- Understand the meaning of words related to possibilities such as ‘unlikely’ or ‘possible’
- Find hidden pictures in a background picture (treasure hunt)
- Find the way through a maze on paper

Understanding early math for children can help guide positive parental intervention in a child’s educational growth. While there are general math milestones most children hit at a certain age, it is important to keep in mind that children learn math at different rates.

MathProject provides customized math learning plans for our students at all levels to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Our specialized K-12 math program ensures children to reach their full potential, besides their early math understanding. Contact us today at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment!

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**Citations:**Why early math is just as important as early reading – greatschools.org

Math skills at different ages – understood.org

Math Concepts and Skills by Age – education.more4kids

Mathematics milestones – aboutkidshealth.ca

The 4 Major Math Concepts Your Kids Learn in PreK & Kindergarten – scholastic.com