No child was born bad at maths, but sadly, many of them grow up believing it.
It’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re convinced you can’t do math, it’s nearly impossible to become better at it.
Yet the problem is neither with the child or the maths itself – it’s the way it’s taught.
Conventional teaching methods often trigger something called “maths anxiety,” which is what childhood education experts call a state of apprehension and tension that arises when a child faces an arithmetical task.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: holistic education, which can help children discover what makes maths such a fun and beautiful part of life.
Holistic teaching focuses on the child, not the maths problem.
A holistic teacher seeks to understand your child’s relationship with maths in its entirety.
As a result, solving math problems is the last part of the equation. The first step is to learn as much as possible about your child’s strengths and weaknesses in maths, as well as their developmental milestones, interests and learning style.
For example, if a child is having trouble with fractions, a holistic tutor won’t force them to memorize the formula. Instead, they’ll try to discover what fraction concepts the student is having problems with, then address that first before anything else.
There are many ways to teach maths and not all of them require a calculator.
Let’s say your child is struggling with multiplication or division. You could always sit down with them and have them work through hours of maths sheets, but expect tears and an unhappy child.
In contrast, holistic education is all about making maths fun and interactive.
For example, holistic tutors often use a tool called manipulatives to help children learn math concepts. Manipulatives are physical objects that can be used to teach mathematics—for example, number blocks for counting and fraction strips for adding and subtracting fractions.
Children can use these objects to “see” what they’re learning, which makes the lesson easier to grasp than simply explaining it from a textbook or worksheet.
Another way holistic tutors make learning fun is through real-world applications of maths lessons.
They might ask your child to measure different parts of the room using a ruler or calculate how many cupcakes they need for a play date at their house.
The goal is not to get children doing homework; rather, it’s to help them connect their maths skills with things they already know about and like to do in everyday life.
Holistic learning blends maths and play.
Try observing a maths lesson at holistic schools near me. You’ll notice that the lessons are less about test scores, but more about making maths as exciting as possible for children through play.
For instance, students are given the opportunity to explore maths concepts by playing games, solving puzzles, doing crafts, engaging in dramatic play and many other types of activities.
An example of learning through play would be an activity where students create patterns on a paper plate using various colors of pasta (see below). This is a fun activity that allows students to explore mathematical concepts such as patterning, one-to-one correspondence and counting.
Learning through play can also help build confidence because it provides a more nurturing environment for mastering new skills. Specifically, playful activities are more enjoyable for children and make them feel more capable, which in turn makes them want to engage in the activity again!
And interestingly, studies have shown that children who learn maths through play have a stronger grasp of the foundational concepts than those who are taught to memorise formulas.
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