The wonderful people at Dorling Kindersley (Penguin Books/Random House Publishing) approached me last autumn to write a book, suitable for an international audience, aimed at parents and teachers of 4-7 year olds to support their children’s learning in all aspects of maths.
And so began the mammoth task of condensing the entire curriculum into around 128 pages.
My aim was to create a book that felt different and addressed some of the aspects I felt were missing from similar resources.
The first message I wanted to communicate was that children who know maths is all around them and see how maths skills give us control over our lives are far more likely to see the value in studying it! I began by looking at why we need maths and the many examples of mathematics in everyday life.
Next I wanted to present numerical relationships as they really are. Addition and subtraction are merely the inverse of each other; one undoes the other’s actions. So why do we see them separately defined so much in textbooks and other reference materials? It’s so much more difficult to connect them later when children have focused upon solely learning procedures rather than investigating and understanding relationships. In the book I show the different structures and procedures of addition and subtraction and then multiplication and division on facing pages so the links are clear and easily explained.
All the way through the book I’ve aimed to make connections and allow the mathematical ideas to ‘flow’. This was a challenge as the links are endless rather than linear but I feel we’ve managed it pretty well. The use of images coupled with explanations and examples that would feel meaningful to children across the world representing diverse cultures and lives was of equal importance and I hope children see themselves throughout.
This book has been a labour of love and represents so many of the concepts, ideas and approaches I have developed through my training. The feedback so far has been better than I could have every hoped for and the news that teachers are recommending it to all of their parents is fantastic. I hope this resource will become a valuable stepping stone in both supporting teachers’ practice and connecting parents and schools around the world.
And here it is for sale on Amazon Japan!
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Thank you so much Karen. I enjoyed the training this morning tremendously and tried out the ideas straight after lunch with my class leading to 20 mins of enthusiastic discussion! Brilliant!
The children said they really enjoyed it and wanted to do more so I am definitely going to be changing my teaching!’
Thank you for showing us HOW to change. So many courses just tell us what isn't working but not how to go about addressing this. Your approaches make so much sense! Thank you.
Just to say thank you again for 3 really brilliant talks at SGIS. We're a small school near Basel and we’d be interested in anything you’re doing nearby (Zurich way) so please let us know!