Daily we read headlines saying; “SA has worst maths, science education in the world”1 or “Investigation into dismal Grade 9 maths results”2. As parents, do you take heed of the headline, or do you believe it does not affect you?
The reality is that Maths affects us all. It is an integral part of our daily lives and we CANNOT escape it…..whether it be shopping, budgeting, banking, travelling or even telling the time, to name just a few. It therefore follows that it is vital for children to be confident in, familiar with and understand mathematical language and concepts, from an early age.
Early maths revolves around exploration. Here children will notice and experience Maths as part of their daily lives. At play, they will build towers with blocks, fill liquid into plastic shapes, place toys in order of size, count objects, make patterns, share their toys and sweets with a friend and learn the concepts of ‘above’, ‘below’, ‘more or less’, ‘before and after’ etc.
Hereafter, at formal school level, Maths becomes multi-layered. It builds from simple Maths principles that are commonly known and learnt to concepts that become ever more complex over time, requiring both understanding and application. It is therefore vital that children fully grasp each level. If they do not, they will fall behind, – and gaps appear. If these are not addressed, they increasingly widen each year and the result is that the child then loses confidence and interest in the subject. When this happens, that drop in self confidence can also influence and affect other subject areas in their lives.
As parents and teachers, it is our duty to ensure that we appreciate the importance of this compound growth and development, and that we help children maintain their level of skill and dedication year on year.
Without question, Maths is a cornerstone of education and the sooner we start seeing it as a ‘life skill’ rather than just a school subject, the better.
1 News 24 (2014 – 06 -02)
2 iOL News (2014-12-05)
Greg Bodill of Bodill Education