Since opening its doors on Northcote Road in 2019, Mathnasium has been abuzz with children of all ages problem solving, thinking, getting stuck and unstuck and perhaps surprisingly for most, having fun. That’s because it heralds a fresh approach to learning, far from rote learning. Its proprietary curriculum focuses on helping children initially build their number sense, then once the foundations are in place teaching increasingly complex mathematics all the way through to GCSE, using mental, verbal, visual, tactile, and written techniques. With careful questioning, instructors understand how students think, identify any problems and guide them through the right thought processes to reach the right answer.
By learning how to think logically, children can solve any problem they face. As one mother commented, “Not only have we noticed an improvement in maths, but also greater levels of enthusiasm and a willingness to accept challenges across all academic areas. There has been a noticeable increase in self-belief and it’s lovely to witness.”
Although Mathnasium is not a specialist in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their materials help children with learning differences such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia master maths too.
Unlike many supplementary education providers, every child has a bespoke education plan based on their ability, not school age, so they are sufficiently challenged but not overwhelmed. “Reinforcement is key,” says John Preston, MD of Mathnasium UK. “Once students have mastered a topic, it doesn’t mean they will never see it again. We’ll revisit it, but it will be slightly more complex the next time.”
Children come to the centre for various reasons. Some to fill in gaps in their knowledge, some, who are already passionate about numbers, come to get ahead (Mathnasium gives them the challenge they need to excel) and some for the all-important common entrance exam preparation.
The Centre delivers specialised 11+ and GCSE exam preparation courses aligned to the curriculum and tailored to the schools in question. “Many parents ask if their children should start preparing for the 11-plus in Year 3 or 4,” says John. “The reality is all children are different and what we can do is assess them, so that parents can make an informed choice as to when to start.” Assessments are free and there is no obligation to sign up.
Children from Year 1 through to Year 11 are welcome and plans are afoot to start a fun ‘drop-in’ Reception club soon. Students can also interchange their in-centre sessions with online real time learning.
Mathnasium also provides places to families who otherwise couldn’t afford it at their centres on Northcote Road, Fulham, Wimbledon and Dulwich, and are actively looking for partnerships with local state schools to expand their offering.
Walk past Mathnasium on any given afternoon and you will see children piling in and out, smiling and laughing. There is a real passion amongst the team to inspire, build confidence and help children perform better at school, and thousands of families across south London will happily attest to that.