How many of us were taught Maths just by rote learning? A large number we reckon! Don’t get us wrong, it still has its place: times tables, for example, and, as you move further up the school, certain formulae (Pythagoras’s theorem, anyone?). But these days learning Maths seems so much more fun – judging by the homework our kids come home with anyway! We’re told “learning through play” is the way younger children learn best, but how is this done in the context of Mathematics? There are many ways Australian International School (AIS) helps its younger students learn Maths effectively, and here’s a snippet of a few of them:
Purpose built campus
Their new Early Learning Village ( opens July 2017) was built with environmental learning in mind. The purpose built campus is designed to encourage and facilitate learning every step of the way, with cleverly designed learning spaces to guide each student’s experience. Each classroom even has its very own playground plus there are nappy changing and sensory areas for the tiny learners, and a sleeping area too!
Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum
AIS’s staff are highly trained in the Reggio Emilia method of teaching and learning. Plus, the inquiry-based IB Primary Years Programme which is introduced from age 3 really encourages a sense of curiosity. This is one seriously well-trained team!
This underpins all of the Maths teaching at AIS. It works on the premise that there are opportunities to learn Maths all around us; at play, in daily routines such as meal times and counting how many buttons on your school blazer to discussing shapes of toys. Just watching your child at play can be a huge eye-opener as to what they are like as a learner and this is something that AIS parents are actively encouraged to do.
Games and play form a huge part of teaching and learning in the Early Years Campus. Each class incorporates specific play corners and games which facilitate the learning of Maths in a discrete way. For the 2 year olds, water and sand play features heavily; helping children learn about cause and effect, capacity and volume, without even realising it. The Wombat class for the 3-4 year olds currently focusses on learning through invention, with a dedicated corner of their class room for model making. The children can plan, design and create models and machines out of all sorts of boxes and containers giving them an early introduction to the concepts of space, dimensions and geometry. (No protractors here!).
Outlast blocks, a system of interlocking wooden blocks and planks, enable the Echidna class ( 4 year olds) to build ramps and towers and bridges and roads: an early introduction to forces, momentum, and problem solving. Clapping sticks are the order of events in the four year old Kookaburra class, and is a technique used across many of the Early Years lessons. The teacher claps out a pattern and then the children repeat: a child is then selected as the leader to clap out a pattern for their friends to repeat. AIS are even managing to incorporate Maths into PE lessons! Parents are encouraged to try this at home, using different clapping patterns for different routines , such as brushing teeth,washing hands, getting dressed: just another way the children are being exposed to patterns in real situations!
A word from a parent
“AIS is an amazing school that offers absolutely incredible opportunities for the children. When I talk to my child about her day and I hear her talking about how she was involved with yoga or mandarin or violin or drama or an art hunt or that an ‘author of an actual real book’ came to read to the class or a multitude of other activities I can’t believe what a wonderful environment she is immersed in every day. AIS offers it all and I honestly cannot fault the school. If you are looking for opportunity, flexibility, transparency and variety then AIS is the place to get it!”
- Kylee Smith, mother of Jackson in nursery and Brooklyn in Prep
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