Fun with numbers

2019-01-15 06:01
LifeMatters volunteer helping out a learner.

LifeMatters volunteer helping out a learner.

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The LifeMatters Foundation (LMF) based in Meadowridge has developed a curriculum-based numeracy intervention programme called “Fun with Numbers”, which helps Grade 2 and 3 learners build a solid mathematical foundation.

LMF is a non-profit organisation and public benefit organisation that provides academic and psychosocial support to under-resourced primary schools in Cape Town.

They believe that every life matters and deserves help to build strong foundations, discover their worth and reach their full potential. LMF’s academic portfolio includes the Shine literacy intervention programme and a numeracy intervention programme, while their life skills portfolio includes a counselling programme, a Grade 7 camp and a teenage awareness programme.

Now they have developed the “Fun with Numbers” programme which will see learners receive two one-hour sessions per week from trained volunteers. The programme allows learners to have fun while practising foundational mathematical concepts using the fun games and activities in the “Fun with Numbers” Manual.

This programme will begin on Monday 28 January to allow schools time to settle before they start taking learners out of class for extra support.

The organisation, which was established in 2002, works in Steenberg, Retreat, Capricorn and Westlake at five primary schools. In addition, their teenage awareness workshops are run at schools throughout the city, with more affluent schools paying a “for profit” rate which covers the cost of the programme at one of the beneficiary schools.

Sharleen Haupt, academic portfolio manager, says Fun with Numbers is a volunteer-driven, early intervention programme for Grade 2 and 3 learners that need extra mathematics support.

“Fun with Numbers is CAPS National Curriculum compliant and focuses on key numeracy concepts needed as ‘building blocks’ for future mathematics learning. Programme participants receive two hours of support per week from trained volunteers that take learners through the games and activities in the Fun with Numbers manual. The programme is managed by a LifeMatters Foundation centre manager who supervises and supports volunteers and works with teachers and administrators,” she says.

Haupt adds that the programme will improve the learners’ numeracy. “We believe that the Fun with Numbers numeracy programme allows learners to improve foundational numeracy skills because the model allows for individualised pace and attention and the programme focuses on foundational concepts necessary to keep up with the curriculum. Volunteers, unlike teachers, have the time to implement methods and tools which aid comprehension. Since many of the learners we work with are learning in a language that is not their home language, volunteers are trained to break down vocabulary and concepts and repeat activities until the learner has mastered it.”

The programme is specifically for Grade 2 and 3 learners as their goal is to catch children that need additional support early in their schooling career so that they can “catch up” and then keep up with the increasing demands of the curriculum with each passing school year.

“We all know that with both literacy and numeracy, there are important foundational concepts that need to be in place early. We assess all learners at the end of their Grade 1 year to determine which children have not mastered the basics and then provide support during Grade 2 and 3 so that learners are ready to face the challenges of the intermediate phase in Grade 4,” she says.

To ensure that they help more children, LMF is in great need of volunteers. “Our biggest need is for volunteers so we can add more learners to the programme. If you can spare an hour per week (during term time) you can volunteer. The only pre-requisites are the ability to read and write in English and understand basic maths. In addition, all volunteers must be police cleared (we provide this service at our offices). New volunteers need to attend a training and information session which is held twice per month in Meadowridge,” concludes Haupt.

V To find out more about the organisation or to volunteer, visit their website at or call 021 712 0383 or email


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