“Maths is cool, that’s a fact, first add up then subtract, Maths is cool at my school, I love Maths!”
These are part of the lyrics for the Pre-Prep anthem this week as we celebrate all things mathematical during Maths Week. I think it also fair to say that most of our children do love Maths, which is brilliant when one reflects on one’s own memories of being taught Maths at school. I clearly recall plodding through textbook after textbook laboriously completing sums in my book, of which I had little real understanding, but achieved me the coveted red tick and gold star and so I was in the main, happy. However, if a teacher had asked me to explain how I knew the answer, I am pretty sure I would have been at a loss!
During my years teaching Maths to small children, there has been a massive shift in how it is taught and my own enjoyment of the subject (and real understanding of the number system) has grown enormously. Maths is now very much a ‘living’ subject for children who spend their lessons investigating numbers in relevant contexts and talking about their discoveries. It is about providing them with a wealth of strategies to find an answer in order to find the one that best meets their learning style and which they can fully understand. It’s filled with colour and real objects that can be handled and manipulated so that what is being learned is fed through all the senses, which provides a deeper understanding and helps a child to make connections with previous learning more readily. Essentially, children are now actively learning maths rather than going through a series of passive exercises. They are being taught to think rather than just do, which naturally leads to it all being more fun and involved.
I am fortunate to be a parent who has all of this inside information about changing teaching methods, but know for some parents supporting their children’s developing mathematical minds has become something of a challenge, owing to it being taught so differently to when we were at school. My advice would be to learn (again) with your child – I promise it’s not scary and you very well might end up joining in our anthem!
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