Quantity and Quality, Can We Have Both?


At times, we might think that there is a race of some kind to get our two year old to count to 20, or 30 and progress to count to 50 when they are 3 or 4 years old.  Some of us feel just fine about counting to 30 by the time our child is 3 or 4 years old.  We are all different in our desires for what we want our children to learn and I understand that.  In truth, it is not just about what the highest number our child can count to, but up to what number does our child understand the quantity that corresponds with it.   For example, my child can count to 40 at 4 years of age, but does he understand what 40 looks like or how much that is?  Would it be better for him to be able to count to 20 and understand the quantity of 20?  This is my debate on quantity versus quality.

When I say “quantity” in my title, I really mean the more numbers you can count to, instead of understanding the quantity of each number.  When I say “quality” in my title, it really focuses on the idea that my children can both identify a number and its quantity, the “how many and how much” of what the number looks like.

Think about the counting activities I have posted, it is the beginning of counting objects to actually see what five of something looks like.  For the activities focusing on more and less, this gives the child an opportunity to compare two different quantities.  A child automatically can tell which is more and which is less, especially when the child is dealing with goldfish crackers or notices that his/her sibling has more strawberries on the plate.  Then the idea is to match the quantity with the number that corresponds to it.

From my experience with my two boys, my 3 year old was ready to really “get it” when it came down to matching quantities with the number easily.  I am not saying he can do this up to 100, but the more numbers he can match the number with the quantity, the better his quality of understanding is.  For him to get to this place in understanding, I needed to help him with the counting activities I have shared with you for close to a year.

If I kept thinking that his learning is a race to get their first, the learning and teaching would be more frustrating than effective.  The quality of the learning and the results far outweigh the more numbers he can count to.  This is my opinion and I had to learn this as a parent.  The last thing I want to do as a parent is to frustrate my child because I somehow thought he was competing with other children.  A child as young as 4, 5, 6, or younger is much too young to start feeling frustrated when there is no need to.

The next blog to follow this one will give you an idea of what I am talking about.  I will share with you a quick learning activity that shows you how to have both, quantity and quality.

What Counting Activities am I referring to? 

  1. “Let’s Count to Ten!”


  1.  “Color, More Color, and Sneak in a 3”


  1. “How Many Hands?”


  1.  “How many spoonfuls in a jar? How much cereal do we have? Let’s count and find out!”



Something to Think About: 

Realizing that our country is always trying to compete globally with other countries in education, we feel that there is a race to push our kids to learn more and more and even more at an earlier age than we did.  Sometimes when we feel that things are a race, we focus on the finish line than how to prepare and endure the race….the journey.  If we just focus on the finish line, we might frustrate our little ones when it was not necessary.  If you felt frustrated learning something at some moment in your life, it may have turned you against learning about that, period.   Why would we then begin so early with our little ones to turn them off to learning when it can be enjoyable and your child knows that you are there to nurture him?  When my child feels frustrated, I am there to give him the tools to overcome it, but I am not going to directly place unnecessary frustration on him.

Again, as a parent, we might think we need to hurry up on teaching certain things to our children so that they won’t fall behind.  This allows us to become more stressed or pressured if our children are not learning at the rate we think they should.  No worries….just breathe.  Because even reading this blog and finding out how to help your child become more successful in math, literacy, and art should tell you that you are a wonderful and caring parent.  If your child takes more time to learn concepts, it is okay.  We all learn at different times.  Don’t worry too much.  I will say this over and over again because it is that important to know that you are doing a great job!

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

copyright 2013 learning math with mom


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