To count a set of objects, children must learn to count verbally - saying the list of number names in order, as well as learning the system that generates new numbers names.

Counting includes 1) the ability to say number words in correspondence with objects (enumerate objects), 2) understanding that the last number word said when counting refers to how many items have been counted (cardinality), and 3) using counting strategies to solve problems.

Practice-based Research:  The word numerals means “written numbers,” such as 1 and 4. These symbols can also be written as number words (one and four). An actual number is the idea of, for example, four things. We might use the word numerals when reading or writing them, but we do not insist that children do so. Also, using numerals to label numbers, as well as representing collections with written symbols, are key steps toward mathematical abstraction. So, they are used in many activities (often linked to verbal number words or dot patterns).

Inclusive Teaching Approaches

We are working with our partners at the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMI2E2) Center ( to improve engagement opportunities for young children with disabilities (O-5). 

Accessibility for Diverse Educators

  • Almost all of the videos on our website have closed captions in English and Spanish for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Most of our videos can also be accessed with a voiceover describing the scene for those with vision impairments. Click on the Accessibility toggle in the bottom right corner.

Accessibility for Children

Learn how to incorperate Counting across the whole day in Routines, and find accomodations for diverse learners in all levels of Counting in Teaching Strategies

We have also created new activities or updated previous activities with new features that support engagement for all children. Features of the activities include intentionally inclusive design, accommodations for specific disabilities, questions for caregiver and early interventionist reflection on development, and ideas for learning in everyday routines. We have started by developing activities for infants and toddlers, with plans to add more at the older levels in the future. New inclusive activities for Counting are linked below (and also embedded in the site, at their respective trajectory level).

STEMIE Counting activities- Number Sayer, Chanter Reciter

STEMIE Mealtimes Counting 

General accommodation recommendations can be accessed in our Inclusion resources, linked here:

Read more about the STEMIIEE center here.

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.