Original Research-Special Collection: Teaching and learning: mathematics, science, design, technology in the Early Years

Meerkat Maths – A comprehensive maths learning programme for Grade-R

Eurika Jansen van Vuuren, Moritz Herzog, Annemarie Fritz
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 2 | a565 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i2.565 | © 2018 Eurika Jansen van Vuuren, Moritz Herzog, Annemarie Fritz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2017 | Published: 29 November 2018

About the author(s)

Eurika Jansen van Vuuren, Department of Childhood Development, University of Mpumalanga, South Africa
Moritz Herzog, Department of Educational Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; and, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Annemarie Fritz, Department of Educational Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; and, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Several studies have shown the influence of mathematical knowledge on both individual opportunities and chances for a self-determined and prosperous life as well as the welfare of nations. Against this background, the contents of maths education in the foundation phase as well as the way in which it is conveyed gain importance. While competence-oriented approaches (e.g. the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements [CAPS]) state learning goals that all learners should achieve, developmental approaches (e.g. developmental models) describe typical learning trajectories of learners. As both approaches are quite separated, there is a need for bridging the gap between them.

Aim: This article aims at revisiting the CAPS critically and comparing contents for early numeracy instruction. A possible alternative to the CAPS is intended.

Setting: In this article, we describe a maths learning programme for Grade-R (Meerkat Maths) that combines and integrates empirical findings and curricular demands. The presented maths training aims at teaching maths in such a way that it suits children’s development, raises a positive attitude towards maths and also meets educational expectations.

Methods: Contents of the training programme and the CAPS are compared against the background of empirical research on numerical development and predictors for arithmetic performance.

Results: The results reveal that research based math instruction can be conveyed in a formal training programme.

Conclusion: Keeping in mind the qualifications and training of Grade-R teachers, teacher training is necessarily embedded in the programme. Thus, the described programme is a comprehensive application of recent research for maths classes in the early grades.


Keywords

Early numeracy; mathematical concepts; Grade-R

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