Learning numbers is more than counting. It is learning what quantity (amount) a number represents, counting sets of objects and making sure when you count you touch each object and only count it once(1 to 1 correspondence), and knowing when you finish counting a set of objects -the last number said is the amount.(cardinality)
We started with zero. I tell the students that the math word for nothing is zero.
We talk about representing numbers by drawing a set, how it looks on a dot cube (dice), where it is on a number line, and how it looks in a 5 frame and 10 frame.
When we talked about 1, we showed all the ways to represent as we did for 0 but we also show how to represent 1 with place value.