Teachers use props to teach maths at a creative learning centre in Ranchi. Pictures by Hardeep Singh
Scenario 1: A mother asks her four-year-old to subtract three from five. The boy looks here and there and then scribbles something which is neither clear to him nor his mother
Scenario 2: In a large, colourful room, five children, all around three years old, stand side by side. A teacher looks on. Three children jump into a plastic pool.
Teacher: How many frogs are there along the bank?
Students (chorus): Five
Teacher: How many are in the pool?
Teacher: So, how many are now left along the bank?
Numbers cease to be demons and instead become playmates if taught the right way.
Over 15 “creative learning maths” centres have come up in state capital Ranchi — most of them run by globally accredited institutions like Abacus and Chrysaalis, which has opened I-Maths.
And, parents, with tiny tots in tow, are making a beeline for them.
For Rima Sharma, making her daughter sit to write was a Herculean task. “Akansha was afraid of writing numbers. I decided to enrol her in I-Maths, which takes classes for kids between three and eight years every week. There, she was put in a group of her own age and she picked up numbers really fast,” said the resident of Ashok Nagar.
Varun Budhia of the I-Maths centre in Ashok Nagar explained why they scored while many parents and schools failed.
“Creativity is not traditionally associated with maths. Yet, it is only creativity that can help children shed their fear. Parents are sending their kids to us because they have seen the difference and are satisfied with the results,” he added.
Already, I-Maths has four centres in the state capital.
Ruchi Jhawar of Ray Innovations, Chrysaalis franchisee in Jharkhand, feels that innovative learning is the need of the hour.
“I-Maths aims to defeat the fear of maths by providing a foundation from where children can develop the rationale to simplify and solve a given problem. The idea is to introduce mathematical concepts in an interactive way. The module has been designed in such a way that it helps realise the child’s innate potential of creativity and naturally, strengthen mathematical concepts,” Ruchi said.
Abacus uses beads to teach maths. With nearly 11 centres in and around the city, Abacus has become a favourite of kindergarten students.
“We have special materials and toys that allow children to do mathematics in numerous ways, including sorting, seriating (arranging a series of beads in a prescribed order), creating symmetric designs and buildings and so on,” said Pragya, principal of Pragya Gurukul in Ashok Nagar that runs Abacus classes every Sunday.
While learning mathematics in a creative manner can be fun, often it helps the open up to his/her latent talent.
“I have noticed that some children, who were not performing well, are now doing exceptionally. It happened because they are creatively active now. Teaching creatively is definitely one of the best ways to help a child attain academic excellence,” she added.