If you have been considering signing up your child for Math enrichment class, you are not alone. Math is one of the most popular enrichment classes in Singapore.
However, you may still be trying to decide which is the best Math enrichment option for your child. For example, what should you look out when selecting an enrichment provider and how do you know if what is being taught will be suitable for your child’s needs.
Here are five important points to consider when choosing a Math enrichment class for your child in Singapore.
What to Consider When Deciding on a Math Enrichment Class in Singapore
1. Alignment with Singapore MOE Syllabus
In selecting a Math enrichment class for your child, make sure that the centre’s curriculum is closely aligned to Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) syllabus.
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Choosing a centre that is aligned to the latest MOE syllabus ensures that what your child learns at the enrichment class reinforces what he or she is learning in school. Aside from the academic benefits, this also aids in reducing his or her stress while in school as he or she will be able to follow along better in class. This can instill him or her with greater confidence towards the subject and encourage him or her to enjoy the subject.
Do also take note that MOE’s Math syllabus changes from time to time. Therefore, it is important that the centre you choose keeps up-to-date with the latest syllabus being taught in schools.
2. Personalised Learning for Each Individual
Many centres adopt a “fixed approach” to teach a child. There is a set curriculum for teachers to follow each week and it is up to the child to keep up with what is being taught.
However, we all know that each child is different. Each child learns at a different pace. Some may need to spend more time on a particular topic or extra coaching to understand certain concepts.
Hence, when choosing a Math enrichment centre, choose one which is able to tailor and change their learning plan to suit your child’s needs and not the other way around. Teachers should be trained to assess each child’s skill level and have the flexibility to personalise the lesson to his or her level of mastery. This would allow the child to benefit most from the time spent at the centre.
3. Hands-on Learning for Greater Engagement and Coaching
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” goes the famous saying. This is especially true when it comes to learning a subject such as Math.
While many people think that Math is a conceptual subject, there are hands-on Math activities which can help student to concretise abstract concepts and turned into tangible ideas that can be grasped and manipulated easily.
In one study, The Academic Value of Hands-on Craft Projects in Elementary Schools, 90 percent of teachers said that hands-on projects helped students to understand basic information while 82 percent said that the projects helped students adapt ideas to new situations.
Hands-on Math activities range from manipulating stick bundles for simple counting to using scales to help a child visualise concepts such a weight and mass. When choosing a Math enrichment centre, check if they make use of such aids to help with their students’ learning.
These type of hands-on activities can only be done at in-person classes and are difficult to replicate in an online setting.
And while we have all become used to online learning due to the pandemic, in general, students are able to pay better attention for longer stretches of time in the classroom than online. In-person classes also allow teachers to coach students more closely.
Therefore, when trying to decide on a Math enrichment class for your child, do consider whether the centre has all these capabilities – hands-on learning, in-person classes for closer tutelage as well as online lessons when remote learning is required.
4. Focused on Heuristics, Not just Drills & Repetition
Gone are the days of rote learning and blindly following steps to arrive at a solution. Instead, the emphasis for Maths is now on heuristics, the application of problem-solving methods such as models to visualise problems. This approach has even come to be known overseas as Singapore Math.
When considering a Math enrichment centre for your child, make sure that its teaching approach goes beyond drills and formulaic learning. Instead, choose a centre that focuses heavily on conceptual understanding.
The centre should have a well-developed approach to introduce concepts to students. There should also be steps to deepen their understanding of these concepts. This will lay a good foundation for them to build upon as they progress through the years and eventually progress towards the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
5. Well-developed and Tested Curriculum
Another factor that distinguishes one centre from the next is its curriculum. In larger centres or chains, the curriculum may be developed by a team. These teams are usually made up of former school teachers who are familiar with the demands of the school system.
On the other hand, smaller centres may make use of off-the-shelf books or rely on individual teacher’s notes or worksheets.
In general, a centre that has been around for a longer time will have a better established curriculum, one which has tested and refined over the years, something which your child can benefit from.
When assessing a centre’s curriculum, do it make sure that it focuses on helping students understand concepts and not just step-by-step procedures. There should be an emphasis on teaching students how to analyse Math problems in order to determine the appropriate heuristic to use, and how to solve the questions efficiently.
Seriously Addictive Mathematics (S.A.M): The Thinking Math Programme
For a Math enrichment chain that checks all the boxes, look no further than Seriously Addictive Mathematics or S.A.M.
Established in Singapore in 2010, S.A.M is a chain of enrichment centres that cater to children between the ages of 4 to 12 years old. It has since grown to become the world’s largest Singapore Math enrichment programme for 4 to 6 year olds with more than 200 centres in 20 countries and counting.
Its Math curriculum was developed by a team of former school teachers and textbook authors, and is 100% aligned with the Singapore MOE syllabus. The S.A.M. curriculum places an emphasis on heuristics, thinking, problem-solving methods and the problem-solving process.
S.A.M adopts the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract or CPA teaching approach. This incorporates the use of tactile activities to introduce mathematical concepts to students before extrapolating the concepts to the pictorial and abstract levels. That’s why you can find colourful models, used as teaching aids, at S.A.M centres. This approach is not only highly engaging for learners but highly effective in ensuring students have a deep understanding of Math concepts at different levels.
Learning is also reinforced with worksheets which are done in the classroom and at home. The problems in the worksheets are kept challenging enough to be interesting for students, while also promoting problem-solving skills and good study habits.
The teachers at S.A.M take a coaching approach towards their students, determining each child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to personalise a learning plan for him or her. This allows each child to learn at his or her pace.
Furthermore, S.A.M has nine locations all over Singapore. This is means that there is always a Seriously Addictive Mathematics centre near you.
If you are interested to find out if S.A.M is right for your child, you can book a free Math Readiness Assessment (worth $60) to uncover your child’s current Math abilities. The assessors will also be able to share with you areas in which your child can improve.
To find out more about Seriously Addictive Mathematics and book a free Math Readiness Assessment, visit the website here.
This feature is brought to you by Seriously Addictive Mathematics.