Mathematics is one of the most important subjects taught in school. From nursery, children learn about numbers, arithmetic and geometry.
Throughout primary and secondary school, children are constantly delving deeper with their understanding, learning to break down numbers and do multiplication for the first time with a multiplication table, as well as tracing geometric shapes.
Later on, in their academic careers, students are taught about algebra, trigonometry and calculus.
The basics must be mastered if students want to increase their chances of academic success in the future. And if they face obstacles along the way, there are solutions available to help.
Emphasising maths from kindergarten will provide children with a strong basis for reasoning, estimation and thinking logically in later life. Playing games related to maths, completing exercises with them during the holidays and searching for maths tutors together will increase their interest and expertise.
The Aim of Learning Maths at Nursery School and Kindergarten
Nursery school and kindergarten are the places where children first encounter maths as a subject.
The teaching of the subject is divided into 5 disciplines, with the objective of giving children the building blocks to structure their thinking.
Before starting school, children already have the ability to intuitively recognise different sizes without putting figures to them.
Some can even put numbers in order.
The input during the nursery years prepares learners for starting primary school.
The math concepts that young children discover at nursery school are divided into 2 groups:
- Learning numbers and how to use them
- Exploring shapes, sizes and sequences
Teaching methods should be adapted to the needs of the children according to their age.
For example, children should learn by:
- Playing educational games
- Solving and correcting problems
- Pushing themselves to attempt harder questions
- Revising until solutions become reflexes
Once the learner has finished nursery, they will move on to:
- Using numbers: evaluating and comparing collections of objects, using numbers to define the position of an object relative to another, being able to communicate to inform of quantity
- Studying numbers: knowing that you get the following number by adding 1 to the previous, quantifying collections of up to 10 and being able to divide or chunk them, being able to count to 30 and reading written numbers up to 10
- Exploring shape, size and pattern: an introduction to geometry and measuring which can be manipulated, being able to compare and describe shapes
All of these basic skills will serve students later on in life when they need to manage their finances or start a business.
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Maths Teaching at Primary School
3 in 10 primary school leavers have not fully mastered maths and therefore start secondary school with gaps in their knowledge.
This means that there is a place for academic support for students who find themselves in difficulty with their maths studies.
By the end of primary school, children should be able to represent numbers and quantities, reason when problem-solving, calculate and communicate about the order of operations and show their working to maths questions.
Children are usually put into sets once they start year 7, which enables a maths tutor to adapt their methods to the needs and abilities of their students.
Schools usually set students based on their year 6 SATs results and their performance in the first few weeks of Key Stage 3.
Personalised and tailored support can be just what children need to boost their self-esteem both inside and outside of the classroom and make good progress.
In the primary school maths syllabus, there are three main themes:
- Number sense and calculation
- Quantities and measurements
Learning is gradual since year 7 provides an opportunity to deepen the topics already covered in KS2 maths.
In their maths lessons, primary students study:
- Numeracy: pupils manipulate numbers, break them down into units, tens and hundreds, look at the properties of numbers (even and odd, for example)
- Measurement: learn the units of measurement, conversions, measurements of time
- Calculation: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division on two-digit decimal numbers and mental arithmetic
- Geometry: properties of polygons and solids, calculation of an area, perimeter and volume.
The teaching and hands-on learning strategies work to get students using their skills including solving problems, models, representing, reasoning, calculating and communicating.
In order to remedy the difficulties that students may encounter, in-class tests, as well as end-of-year exams, are taken to provide the right help for students and set them for next year’s lessons.
Teachers should either provide or suggest supplemental support for pupils who are having difficulty with their learning.
It is also possible for school pupils to take refresher courses through the school holidays.
Tailored support remains crucial in the education of the pupil, especially in primary school where children learn the fundamentals of maths which will serve them for the rest of their lives.
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Arithmetic for Children: Essential Skills
Maths is everywhere. Throughout our lives, we need to make decisions informed by mathematical reasoning.
It is therefore essential that children have the opportunity to see the links between the major disciplines which form a solid base for building their knowledge.
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The first calculations done by a child represent a big step in their learning. Beyond knowing their times tables by heart, this shows that they have taken a logical route to finding a solution.
Knowing the sign for 'add' and the one for 'subtract', finding the product and the difference are all steps along the path to a way of thinking that seems obvious to adults but is quite advanced for young students!
By using arithmetic to solve a problem, children familiarise themselves with the properties of numbers and how to manipulate them. With practice, this becomes easier and children will be able to do simple sums as a reflex. Children will also employ techniques and develop automatic reactions to mental arithmetic questions.
To help them make good progress, it is important that children can see the applications of maths in real life. Visual association will help the child develop an appreciation for operations and their uses as they can see an end goal.
And maths mastery is down to practice!
Tools to Help Children Practice Maths
Is your child struggling with maths? Don’t let problems fester.
Before turning to a private maths tutor, think about offering an alternative approach to learning to help your child view maths problems from a different angle.
With a fun approach to learning, you child will be able to improve their skills whilst enjoying themselves!
Exercises During School Holidays
Exercise books help children to stay on the ball and commit information to memory during the time when they are not at school.
Self-motivated children will enjoy working through their homework books and may not even see it as work.
Even so, if your child sees workbooks in a negative light, they are far less likely to work hard and it and take it seriously, and there will, therefore, be little benefit.
This is why it is important for parents to encourage their children along the way, providing support in their learning.
Children love playing on phones and tables, which is perfect for getting them to play educational games!
Apps for learning times tables are particularly easy to find. The child can track their progress, which motivates them to keep improving.
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These apps are real games with challenges to overcome, levels to pass and a story to follow.
It’s easy to find educational cartoons online, which can help explain maths to children.
Supporting your child this way will give them the opportunity to learn maths by a different, and maybe more effective method than the ones used at school.
Learning about a new topic which is explained visually can completely turn around a child’s understanding.
Do you enjoy playing games as a family?
If your youngster is struggling with their maths skills, why not suggest playing an educational board game adapted to their age?
Developing logic and reasoning skills, learning calculations and broadening their understanding of graphing are all advantages of family games, which allow the child to make progress without feeling isolated.
Having a good time with their parents can mean a boost in self-esteem for children and they learn without any pressure.
Beyond helping your child with their maths by incorporating it into games, you can also make maths a part of your day-to-day life.
Without pressing them too much for an answer, ask your child questions to help them learn to appreciate the practical uses of math in real life.
Baking a cake is a good time to get in some practice:
- I have a mug of 100g of flour and I need 250g of flour for the recipe. How many mugs of flour should I use?
- If I put the cake in the oven at 3:50pm for 25 minutes, when will it be ready?
There are many ways to get your children to appreciate maths and its uses, and this is completely worth the effort as laying a solid foundation will enable learners to build their knowledge with less difficulty later on.
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