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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 3 to 4 Years > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 3 to 4 years

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Begin to sort and classify objects by characteristics
  • Begin to order numbers
  • Begin to understand directional position of numbers
  • Compare amounts
  • Arrange two sets of objects in one-to-one correspondence
  • Count objects
  • Begin to understand different forms of measurement – weight, height, length
  • Begin to understand and apply concepts of pattern, sequence and order
  • Begin to understand concepts such as direction, opposites
  • Begin to attach words to numbers
  • Begin to recognize and label different shapes
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your preschooler, 3 to 4 Years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, preschoolers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Respond to their preschooler when she shows an interest in using numbers
  • Child Will:
  • Feel she can experiment with how numbers are used in a safe environment
  • Engage in number play with an adult knowing she can make a mistake without negative consequences
  • Learn to use an adult as a person to ask for help when she has a question or want something checked

  • Parents Can:
  • Introduce the concepts of sorting and classifying in daily routines (for example, "Let's put your socks in this drawer and your shirts in this drawer")
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand that any group of items can be sorted into groups
  • Begin to classify common events and objects in his life (This can be as simple as events that make him happy or sad.)
  • Begin to categorize and sort the emotions and responses of others in his environment

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, preschoolers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide play opportunities where their preschooler can use different forms of measurement (for example, put measuring cups and spoons in the bathtub)
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand that measurement can take different forms (for example, "We can measure how tall you are and how much you weigh")
  • Begin to experiment with different measurements in her play (for example, while playing with blocks, you may find your preschooler measuring - often incorrectly - the height of her tower)

  • Parents Can:
  • Sing number and counting songs and rhymes
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to confidently repeat number sequences
  • Begin to understand the concept of more or bigger (usually birthdays and age are the most relevant opportunity to use this concept - preschoolers with siblings will know who is older)
  • Begin to count during his play, especially when he is playing with others and sharing toys

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, preschoolers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Use coloured beads or buttons in play as an opportunity to explore different patterns, shapes and sequences
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to recognize patterns around her
  • Begin to recognize and label shapes
  • Begin to explore patterns she can make
  • Begin to understand how sequences are made up of patterns

  • Parents Can:
  • Include their preschooler in cooking activities, and use these opportunities to explore different measures
  • Child Will:
  • Further understand that measurement takes different forms
  • Begin to understand how numbers and measures relate

  • Parents Can:
  • Introduce books and puzzles that illustrate numbers with a direct correspondence to a group of objects
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand that objects can be represented by printed symbols (2 objects look like the numeral two)
  • Begin to master her ability to correctly count a group of objects, demonstrating one-to-correspondence and numbers

  • Social Development: 3 to 4 years
    Emotional Development: 3 to 4 years
    Intellectual Development - Language: 3 to 4 years
    Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 3 to 4 years

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