Numeracy Stage: 3 – 4 years old

By the time they are 4 years old, children should be able to:

Number Sense

  • count verbally to 10 or beyond
  • knowing the last number said when counting at least 5 objects (cardinality)
  • recognize and name the number of items in a set of 3 or 4
  • make a small collection with the same number as another collection

Comparing and Ordering

  • use gestures or words to make comparisons
  • compare groups of 1 – 5 objects by matching or counting when objects in each group are  about the same size
  • count two equal collections (when asked, will say the collection of larger objects has more)

Basic Operations

  • know that a whole is bigger than its parts
  • find the total sum of small groups of items
  • combine and separate up to five objects; describe the parts

Algebraic Thinking (Patterns and Relations)

  • understand that when adding two numbers, it does not matter which number “comes first”


  • compare size by sight, feel and comparing to hands, feet, etc.
  • know usual sequence of basic daily events
  • list a few ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)
  • compare and order a small set of objects (based on size, length, weight, area or volume)
  • fill simple pattern block puzzles using trial and error

Data Analysis

  • sort and/or describe objects by a non-geometric attribute (size, colour) or by shape

Geometry (Shapes)

  • recognize more shapes in real world situations
  • identify less typical triangle shapes and some rectangles
  • recognize some shapes with different sizes and orientations

Spatial Sense

  • follow simple directions related to proximity (behind, under, beside, next to, between)