Make a Difference to STEAM with Time to Count

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Business in the Community Ireland

Children from St. Mary’s NS, Dublin 3 enjoy a virtual Time to Count session with ESB volunteers.

Numeracy is something we are passionate about in BITCI, that’s why we created Time to Count, a programme for primary schools to engage children with Maths through games. Together with numeracy experts, we developed the programme to help children develop confidence with numbers, enjoy playing games, and doing activities that improved their numeracy skills. It supports the Department of Education and Skills national strategy on literacy and numeracy.

Many children in Irish primary schools are not developing the necessary numeracy skills that allow them to participate fully within the education system. Research has also shown, that 1 in 6 students are affected by maths anxiety. This can be defined as “a debilitating negative emotional reaction towards mathematics”.  More girls experience maths anxiety than their male counterparts, thus exacerbating the gender gap in STEAM education and impacting long-term effects on overall learning and poor self-esteem (Cipora et al, 2021).

Experts agree that there is a need for initiatives in Ireland, which support schools, in finding ways to raise expectations for children’s literacy and numeracy achievement and to identify ways of helping families support their children’s development in these areas (DES, 2011).

Programmes like Time to Count are beneficial as it targets children early in primary school. The use of active recreational maths games can help lower maths anxiety scores and give higher performance scores (Houmound, 2020). In schools that participated in Time to Count, teachers identified improvements in children’s recall of numerical facts, increased ability in reading the time, a greater practical sense of number, and connections being made between what had been taught to what was used in a game.  They also found that the children loved the sessions, were eager to persevere and that they gained new skills regarding taking turns and playing fairly.

Speaking at Maths Week 2021, Minister for Education Norma Foley T.D. highlighted “maths not only helps individuals develop skills including critical thinking and problem-solving but also helps us makes decisions in our day-to-day life and encourages creativity”. “Ensuring children are gaining mathematical skills from a young age is intrinsic to their personal growth and will serve them throughout life.” 

Time to Count continues to evolve and BITCI is always looking to spread the benefits of it to more children and schools. We also want to have a positive impact on more employees and companies. If your workplace is passionate about influencing the STEAM agenda and would like to participate in the Time to Count Programme, please contact Germaine Noonan or Aisling O’ Brien.

Previous participants from the Time to Count programme demonstrate in the below video the meaningful addition it makes to all stakeholders. Why don’t you join in?

The Time to Count programme is generously funded by The Dormant Accounts fund and participating companies. We also have funding from an Anonymous Donor at the Community Foundation for Ireland to grow it in Ireland along with our Time to Read programme.

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Article written by Aisling O’Brien, BITCI

Sources

Alanazi, Homoud. (2020). The Effects of Active Recreational Math Games on Math Anxiety and Performance in Primary School Children: An Experimental Study. Multidisciplinary Journal for Education, Social and Technological Sciences. 7. 89. 10.4995/muse.2020.12622.

Cipora, K., Santos, F. H., Kucian, K., & Dowker, A. (2021, November 23). Mathematics anxiety – where are we and where shall we go?. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/2xpcg

Dondio P., F.H. Santos, V. Gusev, et al.2021. Do Games Reduce Maths Anxiety? A Review of the Current Literature. In ECGBL 2021-Proceedings of the 15th European Conference on Game Based LearningFotaris P., Ed. Brighton, UK: ACI.

Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (2011-2020): Interim Review 2011-2016; New Targets 2017-2020 https://assets.gov.ie/24960/93c455d4440246cf8a701b9e0b0a2d65.pdf

https://assets.gov.ie/24521/9e0e6e3887454197a1da1f9736c01557.pdf

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/maths-week-ireland-2021-set-to-attract-more-than-250-000-young-people-1.4695433

BITCI Time to Count 2019 Evaluation Report