Ways to boost children's confidence in their own numeracy skills

The importance of fully engaging children in their mathematical development at every age was highlighted by a recent Ofsted report, which showed that although 90,000 pupils achieved 'level five' grades in their SATs at the age of 11, they failed to secure an A or A* at GCSE five years later.

Here are just a couple of ways that you can help boost children's confidence in their own numeracy skills:

Solver/Recorder
This technique is commonly used in schools to help students who are struggling with maths. A parent or older sibling could take the role of the solver, while a younger child can take the role of the recorder.

This system exposes children to a number of concepts that they may not be able to tackle on their own. As an example, the sum 6 x 4 would be solved by giving the recorder instructions on how to lay out calculations, e.g. 'write 6 + 6 + 6 + 6, add the first two sixes, and then add the third and the fourth'.

As the solver has the main responsibility for working out the equation, it leaves the recorder ample time to come up with the solution. Solvers will also gain an understanding of several written methods for working out mathematical problems which they can apply to their own work.

Making maths fun
Learning mathematical concepts doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to a classroom or a home learning environment. Children's confidence in maths can be enhanced by working in settings they are comfortable in, such as a local park, playground or playroom.

Tallying objects that range from natural materials to toys can help improve children's counting skills. In addition, board games, cards and games such as hopscotch can all aid children's mastery of numeracy.

Parents can also encourage children to take note of numbers in the environment, from those on clock faces to door numbers on their street. These numbers can then be paired with the four operations (x - + ÷) to create a variety of mathematical sums.
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