Students **initially investigate counting**, and then** grouping** in a concept sequence we call ‘Early Counting and Grouping’. Select here for in-depth * Early Counting and Grouping Professional Learning*. Continue here for a summary and diagram of the Early Counting and Grouping learning.

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Students in Kindergarten **investigate Number concepts informally** – no mathematical symbols are used! This is for 2 reasons:

i. students in Kindergarten learn 10 symbols for numbers, 26 symbols for lower case letters, and 26 symbols for upper case letters – that’s **a huge 62 symbols**!

ii. students **need to be able to understand and explain the concepts behind the symbols** +, -, x, ÷, and = before they begin to use the symbols.

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Students begin investigating **conventions of counting** including the **forward and backward number sequences, writing numerals** and **recognising numerals in 2 ways** – when their name is spoken and when seeing its numeral (Early Counting and Grouping 1, 2, 3). **These are conventions becaus**e we all agree on the sequence and the numerals! However **knowing these is essential** to begin to investigate mathematical counting.

Students begin investigating **counting with one-to-one correspondence**. **explaining that the last number they said is the total**, and that the **number after is one more and the number before is 1 fewer**. They explain that counting forwards is adding one each time, while counting backwards is taking away one each time. Students **subitise** the number in a small collection (without counting). (Early Counting and Grouping 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

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Students need to be able to **explain groups flexibl**y before they can investigate **joining groups** (informal adding) and **taking a group away from a group** (informal subtracting). **Flexibly explaining group**s means starting with 1 group, then making 2 groups, making 2 groups again, then making 3 groups – all from the same group of counters! Students **estimate the number in a group**, explain that **numbers are inclusive** (2 is inclusive of 1, 3 is inclusive of 2 and of 1) (Early Counting and Grouping 10, 11, 12).

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Once students can **explain groups flexibly**, they begin to **join 2 or more groups together **and to **start with 1 group and take a group away**. They also investigate finding the difference between 2 groups in 2 ways – by adding to the smaller group to make the larger group, or taking away from the larger group to make the smaller group (Early Counting and Grouping 13, 14, 15)