Get pre-school kids counting, say parents

New research says UK parents think children should learn basic numeracy before starting school

Recent research conducted by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, surveying 1,500 parents of children aged three to five across the UK, looked at attitudes towards numeracy and methods by which it can be introduced before they start school. 

Of those surveyed, although just under three-quarters (71%) felt confident in introducing their children to numeracy prior to them starting school and around half (45%) stated they would benefit from more help and advice in order to be able to do so.  

One method by which adults can engage pre-school children with mathematics is through educational websites and interactive games by using tablets and smartphones. However, 41% of those surveyed were unaware educational apps existed. Of the half (49%) of parents whose children had engaged with an educational resource either on a website or tablet, nearly all (90%) said their children had benefited from it. 

Some of the key benefits of having numeracy skills at a young age cited by parents included: 

  • Having an understanding of personal finances at an earlier age
  • Being able to undertake everyday tasks such as telling the time
  • Helping develop problem solving skills at an early stage

The findings follow research published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies which found children who have strong maths skills by the age of ten are likely to earn significantly more money in their 30s than those who don’t. 

The bank’s research coincides with the UK-wide launch of ‘Count Me In 123’, a numeracy programme to help engage pre-school children with basic mathematics to prepare them for their school lives. Since launching in Glasgow and Leeds more than 10 years ago, the programme has helped thousands of children learn about numeracy through the cities’ library networks. 

Bev Rice, Head of Leeds City Council’s Library and Information Service, said: “Leeds Library and Information Service was happy to work with Yorkshire Bank on the conception of the Count Me In scheme. Since its launch 10 years ago the library service has loaned the packs through our public libraries as well as working directly with schools and learning partners to introduce children to the programme. Hundreds of children have had fun using the programme and getting to grips with numeracy to prepare them for school and every day maths use. We are looking forward to using the new app and online resources which will give parents and children a new way to access this brilliant resource.” 

The latest drive will see parents and guardians, nurseries and libraries across the UK gain free access to a new range of educational resources, including activity worksheets and a ‘Count Me In 123’ interactive website and tablet app. 

Helen Page, Customer Experience, Products and Marketing Director at Clydesdale Bank, said: “Studies show the positive long-term impact a good grasp of mathematics can have in terms of future earning potential and we feel that introducing numeracy to children before they start school will help lay a strong foundation as they take their first steps into primary education.”    

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