Parents

Maths Activities to Practice at home

No child’s education begins and ends in the classroom. Increasingly, parents have a vital role to play in helping a child reach their full potential. This is particularly important for maths education as maths and science are shown to be areas in high demand in many growth industries around the world and in Australia. Integrating maths activities into your home life can have a very positive effect on the enjoyment your child gets from learning maths.

There are many ways to engage with your child at home, whilst teaching fundamental numeracy and  maths problem solving skills. A good start is to encourage wrong answers! Learning maths is not about getting the answer correct all the time or memorising formulas – to gain a deep understanding a child needs to understand key mathematical concepts and develop mental strategies to then apply to the specific problem at hand.

Another great way to develop an interest in maths in your child is to use graphics, images, objects to illustrate how maths works in the real world. For example you could cut a watermelon into six equal segments, then cut these again to show the fundamentals for fractions in a fun way. Don’t forget to eat the watermelon when you are done! I’ve also found the supermarket can be a great place to try out your childs understanding of maths concepts. You can help your child to add up all the items in your shopping basket and see the total amount that you will pay when you get to the checkout – this is great for helping you stick to your shopping budget also and helps your child to understand the value of money.

When you are out and about in the car, look at the number plate of the car in front and ask you child to add up all the numbers they see, then subtract them from each other. If you are on the train or bus, take a look at the timetables and work out when you will get to your destination, how much your fare cost and the how many stops are left to get home or wherever you are going.

In summary, try to infuse daily life with maths games and makes maths fun! If you are stuck for ideas or need more help, there are many websites the offer maths resources for teachers and parents alike. A great to place to start is alearningplaceateachingplace which has as many great ideas on developing maths skills. Enjoy your maths!

When should your child start school?

The decision of when your child should start school is an agonizing decision and one that is plaguing parents throughout the country. Throughout Australia, the starting age for the first year of school varies from state to territory. For example, in NSW children must be enrolled in school by the time they are six, however, they are eligible to begin schooling if they turn five on or before July 31st of that year. This requirement means that in the same year, some children will be four and half whereas others will be six.

For parents of children who fall into the younger age requirement, the debate on when their child should start school has turned to weighing up whether there are benefits to starting school earlier as opposed to later. For some, sending their child to school earlier means that they will be able to save on childcare center fees. For others there is a belief that holding their child back will give them an advantage.

It has become a trend for Australian parents to delay sending their children to school by a year as it is believed that older children are likely to have more confidence and succeed academically. A US study found that older children did have an advantage when starting school because they learnt more before they started kindergarten.

However, the study also found that the academic advantage held by older children was only temporarily held over the first few years. In fact, the age a child began schooling had no affect on income or employment in later life.

As a parent, the results of these studies can provide little assistance in determining when is the most optimal time for your child to begin school. Perhaps the most important opinion a parent can have is from their child’s preschool teacher. Having a discussion with your child’s teacher will be able to give you a good understanding of your child’s school readiness.

It is important to note that school readiness is not simply about how well your child can read, write or count and whether they can distinguish colors. Rather, you should also take into account your child’s emotional and social maturity. This is important as rather than just coping with school, every parent wants their child to thrive and enjoy the challenges that school brings.

Whatever age you decide to enroll your child into school, there are several things that you can do to help your child’s development and their preparedness for school. You can read to your child every night, introduce your child to letters and numbers and organize play dates with other children.