Learning the numbers is a key skill for your preschooler.

Why Is it Important for Preschoolers to Know Their Numbers?

by Erica Loop

Numbers do much more than tell you when your credit card balance is exceeding your bank statement or letting others know your real age. Unlike adults who use numbers on a daily basis without thinking twice, preschoolers are only beginning to develop number recognition and identification skills. Why is this important to your little learner? Just like you can't go a day without using numbers, fairly soon your young child won't either. Between school social situations and day-to-day activities, your preschooler needs to know her numbers.

1. Kindergarten Readiness

Before you know it, your preschooler will be well on his way to starting grade school. Kindergarten readiness skills typically include number knowledge. This doesn't mean that your child needs to count into his thousands or do long division just yet. Instead, he will need to know the basic mathematical number concepts that his kindergarten teacher will require. While the specific requirements vary by school, district or state, the Common Core Standards can help give you the big picture when it comes to what your child will need to know by the end of Kindergarten. The Common Core Standards are a set of learning standards for math and English that detail what learning concepts are age-appropriate and necessary for each grade. The Common Core Standards note that kindergarten-aged kids should have the abilities to count up to 100, write numbers up to 20, compare groups of differently numbered objects and connect numbers to counting quantities.

2. Finances

Although it's unlikely that your preschooler will need to balance her checkbook anytime soon, basic financial concepts are necessary for many kids. If your child goes to a preschool or early childhood education programs she may begin to learn simple financial lessons such as counting money and learning about how much different things cost. For example, the state of Pennsylvania's Pre-K Early Learning Standards require schools to include learning lessons on building an awareness of money through social studies activities such as playing with or counting pretend money in the dramatic play area. Without knowing her numbers, your preschooler won't have the skills to tackle this type of activity.

3. Quantities

You're at the grocery store with your 5-year-old preschooler picking up his frosting-covered birthday cake when the kindly older lady behind the cookie counter asks him, "How many years old are you today?" Imagine that your child doesn't know his numbers and simply shrugs his shoulders. Understanding numbers in relation to counting quantities, such as age or other measurements, is helpful in many aspects of your child's life. He can use these number skills to assess quantities that are greater or less than each other or make judgments. For example, if the ride at the kiddie park says that only kids over 4-years-old can go on it, knowing his numbers can help him to tell you if he's allowed or not.

4. Information

You might not want your preschooler giving out your home phone or address, but soon, the numbers attached to these pieces of information can come in handy. For example, your preschooler is on a play date with her BFF from school when she starts feeling sad and wants to come home. While you would expect that the play date-hosting parent has your contact info, in the event that she can't find it or misplaces it, your child may need to step up and remember the numbers to call you. Additionally, there are some safety situations -- such as the scary, and unlikely, event that your child becomes lost in a public place -- where knowing her address or your phone number can help the authorities to locate you.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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