What is Zero?

My wife is  a teacher’s assistant in the public school system. She works in a pre-kindergarten program that focuses on children with special needs. Her students are ages 2-5 and have varying special conditions ranging from physical, emotional, and developmental with some on the autism spectrum.

She was working with one child on his numbers. Counting from 0-5 and connecting the count to tangible values.

“There are three blocks here. 1, 2, 3. If we take one away, how many blocks do we have?”

When they got to zero, the boy always answered, “A little bit.”

“We had two blocks and took them away. 2, 1, 0. How many do we have?”

“Zero.” he said.

“And how much is zero?” she asked.

“A little bit,” he kept answering.

“Why?” she insisted.

“My mom tells me when we’re shopping and I want something, she has zero money for that. But she always has a little money for the things she wants.” he stated.

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