Starting Primary 1 is one of the major milestones your children go through in their educational journey. It is both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Many parents prepare their children for this big change ahead of time so that their children can be emotionally and mentally ready for the next phase of their schooling years.
There are many changes to cope with, like a new routine and bigger class size. One main concern that parents have is their children’s ability to handle their pocket money during recess. To do this, your children need to have the basic concepts of addition and subtraction in Primary 1 Maths.
Many Parents are Worried About Primary 1 Maths
While Maths seems like a formidable subject to be conquered in school, it is important for your children to recognise that Maths is deeply ingrained their daily lives. Through this, they may be more motivated to learn, knowing that they can apply their knowledge easily.
The current Primary 1 Maths syllabus is designed to be accessible to everyone, so children who have no prior knowledge of the subject will not be at a disadvantageous position. However, having some mastery in Maths can help to kickstart the learning process!
What basic skills can you teach your K2 children to be prepared for Primary 1 Maths?
1. Counting, Reading and Writing from 1 to 20
Your children should be able to count objects, read and write numerals from 1 to 20. At this stage, being able to spell and write the numerals in words is a bonus but not a necessity.
You can help your children to achieve this skill by counting with them. For example, when you are walking along the pavement, you could ask, “How many steps do you think we will take before we reach the bus stop?”
Having your children make a guess is also part of a mathematical skill that they will learn at a later stage. You can challenge their guess by counting along with them as you take those steps.
Recognising the numerals can also be turned into a game. You can ask them to point out a certain number when they see it in authentic materials like posters, signs or advertisements. In doing so, you can also incorporate sequencing of numbers, like 1, ___, 3, ___, 5, and this reinforces the concept of “before and after”, which is important in Maths.
Being able to count to 20 seamlessly is akin to reciting the alphabet. They should be able to master this skill before they enter primary school in Singapore. This is an essential numeracy skill which will serve them well for their foundation to Primary 1 Maths.
2. Addition and Subtraction Within 10
Another simple concept that can be taught using objects around you is addition and subtraction within 10. To help your children succeed with this concept, you can introduce the use of number bonds, like the example below:
Number bonds are useful in illustrating addition and subtraction within one concept. Your children can easily visualise the number sentence by looking at the number bonds.
When their basic addition and subtraction concept has been established, you can work in word problems by asking your children to solve simple word stories, “You have 10 cookies. You give your friend 3 cookies. How many cookies do you have left?”
Highlighting keywords in word stories is a good method to help your children comprehend the question.
3. Identifying and Naming Basic Shapes
A useful numeracy skill as a key entry point in Primary 1 Maths in Singapore is the ability to identify and name basic shapes. At this point, your children only need to know the four basic 2D shapes: circle, square, rectangle and triangle.
Other than knowing how to spell these shape words, your children should also know how to sort them according to size, colour and shape. Through sorting, your children are learning a new skill – to compare and group objects. A fun activity you can do at home with your children is to use these four shapes to create a picture. This allows them to incorporate the skills in an engaging manner.
4. Working with Money
Primary schools in Singapore require children to be independent in purchasing their own food during their break times. Therefore, working with money should be one of the key numeracy skills that you teach your children so that they are able to manage themselves in the canteen.
Start at home by taking your children to the supermarket and equipping them with the knowledge of how money works. Teach them how to recognise and count money and understand the concept of more and less. If they were to give too much money to the canteen vendor, what should they do? Your children should be able to tell you that they need to wait for the change. This also ties in the concept of addition and subtraction.
5. Telling Time in Primary 1 Maths
Another important Maths skill to have at primary schools is the ability to tell time. This helps your children to be prepared for the next lesson instead of waiting for the school bell to go off. It also ensures that they will not be late for their lesson if it is conducted outside of the classroom.
To help your children tell time, especially on an analogue clock, teach them to do skip counting in 5s. Help them identify the hands on the clock and what they represent. Then, to practice what they have learnt, you can set reminders for them to tell you when it is time for their favourite TV programme, dinner, shower, bed.
By being consistent in using time as their daily lives, they will be a master at telling time soon.
What If Your Child Needs More Help With Numeracy Skills for Primary 1 Maths?
To help you get started in your children’s Primary 1 preparation, we’ve created an e-guide to reinforce simple Maths concepts that would come in handy as they start their primary school journey.
This comprehensive guide is complimentary for all and includes fun activity sheets that allow you to explore simple, natural ways to incorporate Maths into your child’s everyday life.
Get a Headstart in Preparing Your Child for Primary 1!
Attend our complimentary Primary 1 Preparation Parent Seminar where our curriculum experts will be sharing an overview of the Primary 1 curriculum and strategies for easing your child through this transition with a Champion Mindset.