STUDENT OF THE MONTH: EARLY ACADEMIC SKILLS BEST PREDICT SCHOOL SUCCESS

Mar 30, 2023 | Red Deer

Student of the Month this time is Aurora. She is a second-grader and just turned 8. She has been with us since last September, but she has successfully completed three Learning Plans!!

 

 

After an assessment, parents often ask “how long will it take for my child to finish this Learning Plan?” The answer is always “it depends”. Our program is not like at school where there is a certain time to finish a math concept and it keeps on going forward whether a student has mastered or not because the whole class cannot wait until all students “get it”. At Mathnasium, everything is personalized: building the Learning Plan customized to your child's needs, and then during the sessions we work with your child according to their pace. Surprisingly, how far behind your child’s math skill is, is not a determinant. Often a student who are far behind can run fast – because they have this GRIT.

Yes, a student’s determination plays a very important role in math learning – just like in any other skill learning in life. Aurora, and many of our students, definitely exhibit this behaviour. So – what are strong students’ characteristics that make them successful?

 

(1)   They don’t avoid challenges. It’s not like Aurora doesn’t have challenges. The word problem was not her favourite and still is. But does she avoid it? No. Do we have to push her to do it? No. She is so young, but already understands the concept of “work ethos” and resilience.

(2)   They have self-control. Who doesn’t prefer playing than working on math? As young as she is, Aurora is independent, we don’t have to always come to her and check on their progress. Does it mean she works and works all the time? No. She talks about other stuff like about her cat, chatting with Emily (her best friend here) and other kids, playing games, etc. But she knows when to work, and when to play.

(3)   They are curious. And in our case, curious about math 😊 They are intrigued about new and different strategies, and not just stubbornly stick to the way they are comfortable with. They know that understanding new approaches means expanding their knowledge to have a better number sense, and ultimately have a better math brain.  

 

Early academic skills best predict school success

Parents, who set their kids up for success, instill these characteristics since their kids are young. Did you know that early academic skills best predict school success?

An interesting study of 35,000 preschoolers across Canada, US and England found that developing math skills early can turn into a huge advantage. “"The paramount importance of early math skills — of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order, and other rudimentary math concepts — is one of the puzzles coming out of the study," coauthor and Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan said in a press release. "Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement."

We cannot stress enough how important it is to start your child’s math skills with the right foot. I’m sure you often hear “oh it’s too early to teach math” or “oh it’s easy to teach elementary math”. These statements are far from the truth. How they are taught math in the kindergarten and early elementary level is so important to grow their mindset and math thinking. Very strong foundation of early math will predict their future success in all their math journeys down the road: in upper elementary, middle school and high-school. You wait too long, and it would be hard to get your child out of their bad habits like relying too much on finger counting, on algorithms, on a calculator, on google, etc. Mathnasium’s motto “changing lives through math” is not just a slogan, because it is true – starting with the correct method could change your child’s life!

 

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