By Sunny Tan
There are many easy and fun ways to help nurture your pre-school child into a critical thinker that is ready to embrace maths at primary school. Here are some ideas:
- Apply everyday situations: To help develop your child’s comprehension and evaluation skills, find ways to apply everyday knowledge to understand unfamiliar situations. For example, ask your child, ‘Will your shirt size change over time?’, ‘Can a flowering plant produce different types of fruit?’
- It is not a race: Show your children that it is ok to take their time and think about a question. When your child is working through maths problems, don’t be too quick to offer solutions. Instead ask them questions to help them understand the problem such as ‘Can you read the question to me?’, ‘What methods do you know to help you solve the problem?’
- Apply some science: Science is an excellent subject to help develop the critical thinking skills your child needs to succeed in maths. Work on some simple science experiments with your children. For example, germinate some green beans and, as they grow, ask your children questions that make them think and lead them to the right answers.
- Get it wrong: Occasionally suggest a wrong answer to get your child to evaluate whether it is right or wrong and encourage them to explain the reasoning behind their evaluation. This will help them start examining information, events and scenarios with a probing mind.
- Be patient: If you get frustrated with what you perceive as your child’s lack of readiness they will pick up on this and dig in their heels. Encourage them to understand that this is an exciting learning journey that you are embarking on together.
Sunny Tan is the author of ‘Mastering Heuristics Series’ and founder of Maths Heuristics. Maths Heuristics is the first organisation in Singapore to offer a total integrated learning platform for mastery of heuristics to educators, parents and children in P3 and above. It comprises a suite of learning tools including classes, guidebooks, virtual classroom, web videos, and a mobile app for interactive step-by-step learning for child and parent to work through together.