Play & Learn

What Is Singapore Math and Should Your Child Learn It?

ByJerni Camposano-GomezApril 22, 2022
child solving math problem
You've probably heard about the Singapore Math method from fellow parents, and you wonder to yourself what it really is. Should your child learn it? How does it differ from other math enrichment classes? Is it effective?
Singapore has consistently ranked as one of the best in global education ranking, especially in math and science. Math is a priority subject for students in this state-island, so much so that Singaporean students are among the world's best. They attribute this to the teaching approach developed by the Singapore's Ministry of Education for public schools in the 1980s. It features an intentional progression of concepts so that students get to have a deeper understanding of mathematics. 
The country’s approach to math education has indeed raised the bar, and was adopted in various forms around the world. In 1998, a couple named Jeffrey and Dawn Thomas concluded that their child’s American Math curriculum can take inspiration from the Singaporean method, paving the way for U.S. public schools to adopt it.
So what should you know about Singapore Math? Read on. 
1. It follows a three-step learning process.
Most schools teach Math by asking kids to memorize formulas, remember arithmetic, and apply them based on the problems presented in examinations. Singapore Math, on the other hand, follows a core framework known as CPA—which stands for Concrete, Pictorial, and Abstract. 
Under Concrete, kids physically engage with items that demonstrate certain concepts. Examples of these are blocks, cards, or even fruits and stones. Pictorial highlights visual representations which can include drawings or doodles. Abstract presents ideas through words, symbols like + or -, or equations. This type of method hones a child’s logical and problem-solving skills.
2. It does not rely on memorization.
Because the concepts are taught systematically and with a child’s participation embedded in them, kids are not always expected to memorize lessons, rules, and even formulas. More than getting an answer, this method teaches kids to learn the logic and process in order to get to the answer. The method is all about mastering problem solving and learning in depth.
3. The textbooks and workbooks are concise and engaging.
Kids who are enrolled in this curriculum work on a textbook that contains the concepts and a workbook that encourages them to practice and apply their learnings. Lessons come with engaging graphics too to make them more interesting and appealing to the child. In the Singapore math method, concepts are introduced using concrete objects rather than going straight into teaching equations, which they probably have not encountered before.
4. The topics are fewer, but with greater depth.
The fewer topics children need to learn, the more time they have to understand how certain concepts work. Singapore Math focuses more on the “why” and “how”, and less on the “what”— this leads to a more in-depth discussion and understanding. 
5. The topics are sequential.
While there may be fewer topics to be discussed, each of them builds on the previous one, promoting accelerated learning and making it easier for students to follow the concepts and lessons. 
6. Kids are encouraged to ask questions.
Students of Singapore Math don’t just have to passively take in everything that’s being taught to them. They are highly encouraged to ask questions and present their own solutions, based on their own understanding.
7. There's a reason why it's gained popularity worldwide.
The news of Singapore-educated children consistently excelling in Math globally has made this method popular in the past decade or so. Now, more and more countries are adopting it in their schools and curriculum—including the Philippines. Talk about being globally competitive for the future!
If you are looking at where you can enroll your child to learn the Singapore Math method, check out the following classes: 
A. Seriously Addictive Mathematics (S.A.M.) Singapore Math by The Learning Nook: S.A.M. is considered the world’s largest Singapore Math enrichment program. Classes focus more on critical and logical thinking, reasoning, and heuristics, among others. Pre-assessment is required and children aged 3 to 12 years old can participate.
B. Singapore Maths by Heisenberg Academic Tutorial Services. Catering to kids from kindergarten to Grade 6, this online class aims to help improve your child’s Math skills and lay the foundation for their learning by constructing a solid base in math and improving math education in their schooling. Classes are held via Zoom.
C. Adventures in Math by The Learning Library. Taught by a licensed Singapore Math trainer, this online workshop will introduce your child to the world of Mathematics through visual and tactile activities. Best for kids aged 7 to 9 years old, Adventures in Math is conducted through one-hour asynchronous sessions done via Zoom.
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