By Lisa Minshull, teacher and founder of The Curious Dragons.
The Curious Dragons provides a fun set of learning games for children aged 3-5 to nurture and develop their numerical and reasoning abilities. For the first time, parents have an interactive learning system at their fingertips. The Curious Dragons not only helps children learn maths but also instill a love of maths which will last a lifetime.
Developed by a highly experienced advanced maths teacher, The Curious Dragons concept uses the ‘touch, visual and symbol’ approach employed with great success in Singapore, known as Singapore Maths. Singapore is routinely ranked at or near the top in global comparisons of mathematical ability and boasts one of the most admired education systems in the world!
Says Lisa Minshull teacher and founder of The Curious Dragons: I have always loved maths and was eager to share that love with my daughter. I found the maths games and activities available for pre-schoolers focused more on rote learning numbers rather than developing an understanding of numbers and reasoning. I’ve researched how maths is introduced to children around the world and the methods used in Singapore really resonated with me and I began to make maths games and activities for my own daughter and The Curious Dragons were born. “The Curious Dragons is a set of 5 structured games to introduce the concepts of numbers and counting. Whether it’s filling nests with dragon eggs or matching numbers, it introduces maths to children through play. The Curious Dragons complements a mastery approach to teaching mathematics, which many UK primary schools are now using.
Did You Know?
Singapore maths focuses on mastery, not just learning for a test, and supports the Maths Mastery method taught at school. It focuses on maths topics in greater depth. Based on the work of American psychologist, Jerome Bruner, the Singaporean curriculum begins with hands-on group activities with objects like buttons or dice. Next, students move onto the pictorial phase — drawing representations of concrete objects before moving on to abstract equations.
Try The Singapore Method at Home
- Be a positive role model for maths. Never claim, “I was rubbish at maths,” because every child can be good at maths with self-confidence and support.
- Encourage your child to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways, for example by explaining their thinking out loud, drawing a picture or building a physical model.
- Praise children for effort, explanations and perseverance in problem-solving rather than getting the answers right. Build confidence by viewing mistakes as valuable to learning.
- Make maths relevant by turning everyday life into a mathematical conversation. For example, “How many parked cars will we pass on the way to school?”
- Look for multiple ways to solve a problem. Harness creativity rather than insist, “You should do it this way because that’s how I was taught.” Discuss with your child which method they prefer and why.