It's the little things... hair
Learning to count begins at an early age. There are children’s rhymes and songs in every language encouraging babies and toddlers to learn their numbers as soon as they can talk. At first counting is just a string of words, but gradually the words take on meaning in relation to counting objects. A picture book of five little ducks or playig with five little ducks in the bath, starts to help the child relate the number words with the quantity of ducks.
A verbal toddler may know how to rattle off numbers in order, but is still learning to count out how many soft toys they have on their bed. The counting of soft toys involves pointing to each one and saying aloud the next number, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….” In this way the child learns to count.
By the time the same child has started school they will hopefully have mastered counting to 20. Maybe they’ll even see visual patterns of objects and be able to tell the number without having to count each dot on a dice, or image in a book. Playground games like hide and seek are actually counting games, encouraging the child to count as high as 100.
Within a very short few years at school, children have grasped the concepts of numbers as high as millions, billions and even trillions. But, these big numbers are no longer able to be counted in the same way as the five ducks in the bath or the soft toys on the bed. Fortunately, we learn equations and methods to join big numbers together. We also learn to use calculators to problem solve. A child presented with a homework maths problem having to figure out how many chocolate biscuits there are in 10 boxes, with each box containing 12 packets and each packet containing 16 biscuits, learns concepts to be able to calculate the answer rather than having to count each imaginary chocolate biscuit.
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