Children who are not able to recognise single digit numbers are placed in the Beginner Level group. The primary focus for children in this level is number recognition and counting. At all levels, instructors boost children’s confidence by employing tools to help them understand these concepts, praising children at each step, and encouraging them to participate actively. This is especially important at the Beginner Level, when children often find numbers intimidating.
Many children already have a basic sense of quantity. The instructor helps develop their understanding by giving them physical objects which can be counted, such as sticks. Children learn to count them, and quickly start to recognise numbers as they count. Even at this stage, children can begin to understand basic operations such as addition and subtraction, using these physical objects.
Counting tangible objects helps children to quickly recognise spoken numbers and develop an intuition for adding and subtracting numbers. TaRL instructors are encouraged to use counting materials familiar to the children. This helps them to begin to count in everyday life and strengthens their skills. In addition, using counting materials that are easily available often means there is little or no cost, and they are easy to replace.
Children in Teaching at the Right Level classrooms regularly read numbers on a chart. Instructors introduce the number chart by reading through it in order, from lowest to highest numbers. Once children are familiar with the numbers, instructors ask them to read the chart from right to left, top to bottom, diagonally, and randomly. In this way, learners’ recognition of the written numbers is tested, and not just their ability to count.
This activity is reinforced with number recognition games, and regular discussions about how numbers are relevant to their everyday lives. Children also begin to practice writing numbers, at first copying them from the chart. Through regular practice, children quickly progress to recognising single digit numbers, moving to Level 1.