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How to Support the Early Development of Mathematics

16 May 2017

By Jonathan Vine – GIS Primary Maths Teacher

It is a question I get asked a lot – How can I support my children at home with their mathematics? Mathematics is such a broad subject and there are so many different ways to approach the teaching and learning. In the most general terms, my best advice would be to find out the methods your children are already being taught in school and support that. Give your children practise when they want it but not at the expense of their love of the subject.

So, how do you best support your child in learning mathematics? There are many tutors and schemes on the market which will get your children to become efficient calculators. As a teacher of Year 1, I have had children in my class who could accurately multiply two 2-digit numbers together, years before that would have been expected in school. The problem was they did not understand it.

I was the product of this style of teaching. I was given a formula, I learned how to use it, then I applied it. I got ticks on my work so everyone thought I was doing well. I had no idea what I was doing and why and I was left not knowing how mathematics related to anything I did in real life.

You may think this approach will yield results, but as mathematics becomes more complicated and abstract at the secondary level, it soon becomes clear which children have a sound understanding of the foundations of mathematics and which ones do not.

Mathematics is more than just performing calculations. It is about spotting patterns, applying mathematical models to situations, understanding and solving problems. In order to become proficient at this, children need to practice. If you give your children pages of additions, they will be able to complete an addition. If you give your children mathematical problems where addition is one of the elements required to solve it, then they will have a broader understanding of what is meant by addition and why it is important.

The effective use of resources is also important in consolidating mathematical understanding. When learning new concepts in mathematics, children need to have ‘experience’ of the concept. What does addiction LOOK like? What does division FEEL like? In order to foster this, the use of physical resources is tremendously important when first learning a mathematical concept. We cannot expect children to solve abstract problems if they have no image of what is meant by the mathematical terms. Giving children a range of physical resources to help the children’s understanding is the key to developing them into confident mathematicians.

To summarise, the main point is, ask what they are doing in school. At Garden International School, we hold parents workshops to keep parents up to date with what we are doing, and we are working on a website to teach parents some of the methods we use. It is no use teaching your children long division if they are being taught a different method in school.
At home, you can support their mathematics by finding fun contexts where mathematics is needed. For examples, baking a cake, paying in shops using the exact change and games such as snakes-and-ladders. These will have more of an impact than pages of calculations. There are many websites with links to different problem-solving activities; you can use these to support your children.

Above all, include mathematics in a realistic and fun way. If your children see mathematics as a chore, they won’t want to do it. If they see it as a ticket to discover, uncover patterns and understand the world, then you won’t be able to get them to stop!

Jonathon Vine has taught in Garden International School since August 2014. He is currently the Primary Maths Leader and has a strong interest in the development of maths in the school from Year 1 through to Year 6. He completed his undergraduate degree in Primary Education 5-11 (with QTS) from the University of Brighton, where he specialised in Maths Education. He has previously taught in Slough in England and has taught in Year 1 and been Year Leader in Year 2.

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Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 5 (age 16 to 18)

Year 12 & 13 Curriculum

Introduction

The GIS Sixth Form promotes academic excellence in all students, offering international AS and A Level qualifications. These are delivered by outstanding teachers with knowledge and expertise in Key Stage 5 education, who are always ready to go the extra mile to set their students on the path to success.

However, our philosophy of education goes far beyond that. We are proud of our bespoke Sixth Form Diploma which allows students to enrich their studies beyond the formal curriculum, develop leadership skills and nourish a love of learning. In Sixth Form, we recognise the need to equip our students with the soft skills that will prepare them for like beyond our school, and are proud of the opportunities our students have to do this as part of our THRIVE Programme, GIS electives and through our extensive CCA programme.

Underpinning everything we do is our approach of academic care. As well as the care and support of their tutors team, our students complete lessons in Social and Emotional Learning to promote the wellbeing and understanding of others that helps support their success both during their time in GIS and beyond.

As a result of our track record of academic excellence, holistic approach and skills-based education, it is not surprising that GIS Sixth Form students are sought after by the world’s best universities. 

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

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A Level
(Cambridge & Edexcel)

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

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Bespoke Learning

GIS Diploma Programme

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A GIS Diploma is awarded to students who:

A GIS Diploma with Honours is awarded to students who:

Secondary Curriculum: Year 10 & 11
Year 10 & 11

Key Stage 4 (age 14 & 16)

Year 10 & 11 Curriculum

Introduction

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Our Year 10 to 11 (KS4) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students begin to select courses that appeal to them and follow a broad range of examined and non-examined subjects that prepare them for success both in and out of the classroom. Alongside examined subjects, students follow courses designed to develop them as individuals through Social Emotional Learning and a range of elective subjects. The Year 10 and 11 curriculum creates young adults not only with strong academic credentials but who are also well rounded individuals ready for the next stage of their learning.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

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Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

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Bespoke Learning

GIS Elective Programme

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Secondary Curriculum: Year 7 to 9
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 3 (age 11 to 14)

Year 7 to 9 Curriculum

Introduction

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Our Year 7 to 9 (KS3) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students follow a broad and balanced range of subjects that are linked to the National Curriculum of England and Wales but modified to create courses appropriate for an international education.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

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Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

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Early Years Curriculum: Nursery & Reception
Nursery & Reception

Early Years Foundation Stage (age 3 & 5)

Nursery & Reception Curriculum

Early Years

Our EYC learning environment, both inside and outside, is well-resourced and offers a wide range of multi-sensory learning opportunities that are linked to the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. We balance play-based learning with the teaching of fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, PE and music lessons, as well as social and emotional skill development.

Mandarin is taught as an additional language through a combination of discrete teacher-led sessions, and as part of continuous provision, with our outstanding teachers encouraging authentic and natural language acquisition amongst our youngest learners.

Throughout their time at EYC, our young learners have opportunities to follow their interests and take ownership over their learning. This is encouraged through first-hand experiences that create a sense of awe and wonder for children, inspiring them to learn more about the world around them.

Children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. In fact, by the time they turn five 90% of their brain will have been developed.

Our curriculum and approach are designed to ensure that a strong foundation is laid down to support your child’s further development throughout their life.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our Early Years offering consists of carefully designed opportunities to learn through play, directed curriculum and wider learning opportunities such as Jungle School, gardening and cooking.

A Unique Child

Prime

Specific

Mandarin

Jungle School Programme

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

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Primary Curriculum: Year 3 to 6
Year 3 to 6

Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11)

Year 3 to 6 Curriculum

Introduction

This stage builds upon the foundations laid in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, preparing children for the next phase of their education. English is taught daily with a strong emphasis on the development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The development of practical, mental and applied mathematics is achieved through our mathematics lessons.

In Years 5 and 6, French and Spanish are added to the World Languages programme. Students can decide to continue learning the Asian language they have been learning or replace this choice with one of the European languages. Either way, they will still have the opportunity to learn the other language as part of the language club programme after school. Homework is provided throughout the school, and is aimed at consolidating skills taught at school and encouraging parents to play an active role in their children’s education.

Children’s progress is assessed throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 to ensure we have a good understanding of their ongoing progress, individual abilities and to ensure their future needs are met.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

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Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subjects are

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

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Primary Curriculum: Year 1 & 2
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 1 (age 5 to 7)

Year 1 & 2 Curriculum

Introduction

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GIS utilises both the classroom and education opportunities outside the classroom to provide a programme that develops World Changers. At GIS we believe that our responsibility goes beyond producing outstanding academic results. We are fully committed to providing a holistic, well-balanced education.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum. The subjects taught in our topic curriculum are: English, Science, Mathematics, History, Geography, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design, Design Technology

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subject are:

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

 

In Year 1 & 2 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

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