Counting with my Four-Year Old

So, even with all of the school closings we have had, our four-year old girl is about to have her 100th day of PreK this week. Her teacher, the amazing Mrs. K, sent out an email asking the parents to have their lil ones count out a hundred of something before Wednesday’s festivities. Since it is Valentine’s weekend we have plenty of candies around. We decided to have Mo count out 100 Valentine’s M & M’s. She seemed unsure of this large task so we sat with her and encouraged her to think in groups of 10. She confidently counted to 10 and we emptied a small bowl into a larger one. She was confident in her teens and counted 11 – 20 comfortably. Then life got a little interesting. We emptied into the larger bowl and she paused. I’ll write in dialogue form for a little while here –

mrdardy :  What comes after 20?

mo:  30

mrdardy: Well, eventually. What comes between?

mo: blank stare…waiting for an answer

mrdardy:  21?

mo: 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30! [A successful decade of counting!!!]

Now, I empty small bowl

mrdardy: What comes after 30?

mo: 40!

mrdardy: Eventually…What comes in between?

mo: blank stare…waiting for an answer

mrdardy: 41?

mo: 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, …50?

empty bowl again

mrdardy:What comes after 50?

mo: 60!

mrdardy: Eventually…What comes right after 50?

mo: 51?

I smile and nod and she’s off to the races again. She gets through the 50s, she gets through the 60s, then something funny happens. As she gets to the end of the 70s she says seventy-eight, seventy-nine, seventy – ten. She says this hesitatingly, almost as if she realizes something is funny but does not know how to fix it. I ask her what comes after seventy, hoping she’ll repeat her earlier mistake, but she’s too wise for that now. She says seventy-one. Sigh… I tell her that seventy and ten is eighty and she repeated the same mistake at the end of the 80s and almost at the end of the 90s. After a pause, I can get her to say one hundred triumphantly.

A number of questions pop in my head here and I am hoping that some who are much more expert in dealing with these questions will visit and share their wisdom (I’m looking your way Prof. Danielson)

My main questions here are

  1. When I repeat this with her soon, how many of these mistakes will she make all over again?
  2. I know that the teens are more in her comfort range, but the odd style of the names of these numbers seems inconsistent with all the other number names. I thought that she’d try to say something like twenty thirteen, etc.
  3. She’s almost the youngest in her class. How much developmental stuff is happening in the 8 – 10 month difference in age in her class?

Curious. I hope to gain some wisdom in the comments.