2020 has been a disruptive year for children and their schooling.
For learners in the early grades, in particular, they have been losing out on developing and practicing important foundational skills especially in Mathematics.
Given that schooling is unlikely going to return to normalcy any time soon (or ever), developing these skills at home is crucial. One of skills that younger primary school children would normally be practicing in class is manipulating numbers, or mental arithmetic.
In a typical lesson at school their teachers would have them count and manipulate numbers to do calculations in their head.
“Practicing mental arithmetic”, says Aarnout Brombacher, founder of the NumberSense programme, “helps children develop number sense. Studies have shown that children who acquire number sense early in their school careers are more likely to succeed in mathematics”.
One thing that children in the early grades should be doing while schools are closed is practicing manipulating numbers every day.
To provide manipulating number support to children, the NumberSense team at Brombacher and Associates have developed free to watch and download Manipulating Number videos.
These have been created for parents to use with their children and provide 10 minutes of structured daily practice in mental arithmetic.
Each video for Grades 1-5 has 25 timed questions, answers and reflection questions at the end to help children develop mathematical skills with understanding.
The videos were funded by Standard Bank as part of Shikaya’s Whole School Foundation Education Programme.
Zanele Shabalala, Standard Bank Corporate Social Investment Manager, understands the importance of practicing mental arithmetic.
“We know that unless children develop a confident sense of number by the time they finish Grade 3, it becomes harder and harder for them to get it later or catch up.”
“So, it’s vitally important that during this time of school closure, due to Covid-19, young children are practicing their mental maths every day! We can’t let our children fall behind.”
There are already 48 mental maths practice videos available free of charge for each of Grades 1 to 5. By October there will be more than 500 videos available for parents and teachers to use with their children.
“If you are a parent of a child who is in Grades 1-5, we urge you to download or stream these videos, and spend 10 minutes a day doing mental maths with your children”, says Dylan Wray, Executive Director of Shikaya.
“With the help of Standard Bank, we aim to get these NumberSense videos to millions of parents and children across South Africa”.
The videos are free to download from the NumberSense website and to view below:
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