Importance of a positive Maths Ethos
If we are to fully develop a strong positive maths ethos throughout our school, we need to involve every educational stakeholder: governors, teachers, pupils, parents and the community.
In addition to being used in the classroom and for teacher training, the use of Izak9 presents a magnificent opportunity to engage parents and grandparents with children’s learning of maths, as well as helping to build a more positive relationship with the subject for themselves.
How do parent/family events work?
Schools invite parents and their children, or in some cases, parents only, into their schools for a fun filled evening of Izak9 maths. The interactive nature of the activities means that parents very quickly become relaxed and the team environment helps eradicate any inhibitions or fears that they may have about maths related activities. The atmosphere is infectious and very quickly everyone becomes highly engaged: in some cases, highly competitive! Click on the picture below to check out this clip from St. Mary’s PS. Pomeroy, where the children decided they wanted to compete directly against parents. It’s not hard to see the energy in the room.
Identify with children’s learning
The evening also presents to parents the value of team building and problem solving. In the video below, parents are shown a wall of numbers for 3 seconds only, after which time they have to construct the wall from memory – as a team. With activities like this, parents can very quickly identify with the type of learning experiences being offered to their children in school and see first hand the benefits of having an interactive shared learning environment.
Everybody working together
During events when children are present, we encourage families to come together, making the evening open to parents, grandparents and younger siblings, as everybody has something to gain from the experience. In this scenario, children get to showcase their learning to their parents and other family members. Due to the dynamism and curiosity offered by the Izak9 cubes, these family members can’t resist getting involved, irrespective of the extent of their prior knowledge or experience of mathematics. The picture below was taken by the school principal himself, at a family evening in Kirkinriola Primary school.
We are facilitating these parent/family sessions with increasing regularity and the response from parents is overwhelmingly positive. You can see from these pictures and videos the extent to which everybody in attendance gets involved, all of which can only have a positive effect on the children’s learning of maths, both at school and in the home. There will always be parents who feel highly capable of helping children with mathematics in the home, but unfortunately there are also many that don’t feel this way. Evenings like this provide an opportunity for these parents to get a second chance to engage with mathematics in a fun, rewarding and meaningful way, by experiencing something completely different to what they may have experienced when they were young. Click on the photo below to hear how children and parents in Scoil Mhuire, Roscommon arrange the digits one to nine in alphabetical order.
Parent Associations taking notice
Many schools have strong parent groups/parent teacher associations and with the current government cuts being made to schools’ budgets, it can often be a challenge for schools to avail of funds for quality teaching and learning resources. So, to this end, PTAs have a vital part to play. Parent’s organisations are now taking notice of what is being achieved with Izak9. We have been approached by PTA+ and asked if we would like to be included in their ‘Top 10’ buys for schools in the summer edition of their magazine. See bottom left of image below and click on image for link to their website.
If you would like a parent/family event arranged in your own school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.