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While everyone knows what arithmetic is, mental arithmetic is not so widely known. It is a unique strategy that allows children’s intellectual and creative abilities to develop in a balanced way, helping them to reach their full potential.

It is well known that learning and developing new skills stimulates brain activity. The more we give our brain a workout, the better the pathways forged between the left and right sides of the brain. And, as a result, what once seemed hard or even impossible becomes simple and understandable.

Research has shown that a child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development between the ages of 4 and 12. The skills obtained at this age are easy to master and remain for years, and can therefore affect your child’s future success.

At the beginning of the course an abacus (or counting frame) is used. Later on, children will mentally visualise an abacus to do calculations in their head.

Mental arithmetic

The positive effect of mental arithmetic has been proven in several international studies.

Mental arithmetic

In 2007 some British universities carried out research involving 3185 children aged 7 to 11 (Lynn R. & Irwing P. (2008) - Effects of Abacus training on the intelligence of Sudanese children. // Personality and Individual Differences. November 2008, pages 694-696). Regular practice using an abacus was shown to be effective, revealing improvement not only in maths but in other subjects as well.

Research into the effect of mental arithmetic on children’s working memory carried out in China (Min-Sheng Chen, Chan-Tzu Wang (2011) - Effect of mental abacus training on working memory for children // Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers 09/2011; 28 (6): 450-457) demonstrated a significant improvement in visual memory among the participants.

50 children aged 5 to 12 took part in research in India in 2002-2004 (Bhaskaran M., Senottaiyan A., (2006) Evaluation of memory in abacus learners. Indian J Physiol. Pharmacol., 50 (3), 225-233). A mental arithmetic course improved the children’s visual and auditory memory, concentration and focus.

Mental arithmetic therefore facilitates:

  • The development of interaction between the right and left sides of the brain.
  • Improved academic performance and creativity.
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem.
  • Improved focus and concentration.
  • An enhanced ability to learn foreign languages.

Modern parents tend to be concerned about preparing their child for school, even before their child reaches school age. Nevertheless, no matter how well prepared they are, sometimes children do not do well at school. As a rule, children start school with plenty of enthusiasm, but one year later their enthusiasm has often completely evaporated. What is the reason behind this? At primary school children are forced to complete monotonous and boring exercises, with most of the focus placed on accuracy and speed. As a result, children’s creative abilities are suppressed, and play, which is important for all children, is neglected.

Russian theatre director Konstantin Stanislavski once noted that

“…there is something in the education system that suppresses children’s capacity for creativity, fantasy, and unusual ways of expressing themselves”

Many teachers of mathematics note that children who have gone through primary school maths cannot solve non-standard or original problems - something causes them to lose their intellectual flexibility. When faced with taxing problems, they don’t even bother to think, and they are scared by unfamiliar tasks.

By their fifth year at school, children’s motivation to study is fading. They become used to only studying for tests. The learning process itself at school becomes a chore, and often parents hire private tutors. Put yourself in a child’s shoes: you are forced to go to school to do something you don’t enjoy, because ‘you have to!’ and then the boring exercises are repeated at home. As a result, the child becomes apathetic.

To avoid this situation, children need to be encouraged to develop an interest in learning. Each child should have a favourite activity (sport, art, chess, robotics etc). And, in addition, children should study logic.

Often children are not interested in school work because they find mental arithmetic difficult. They do not like lessons involving sums or solving mathematical problems because they find combining the numbers a long and laborious task which often goes wrong.

Our mental arithmetic teaching takes the flaws of the education system into account. Children find studying it easy and enjoyable. The most important thing to remember is that children acquire knowledge when studying is interesting in its own right! That’s how a love for knowledge and the foundations for successful education are formed.

The key advantages of this mental arithmetic course are the frequent use of videos and brain teasers to develop children’s attention and creativity and the combination of group and individual exercises to stimulate communication and interaction between both sides of the brain.

Mental arithmetic can be carried out in three different ways:

  • finger-counting;
  • auditory/motor-based calculation (where the numbers and mathematical operations are spoken out loud while calculating).
  • visual calculation (the quickest and most effective method).

The ability to perform quick mental calculations is formed at an early age, when children first start school. Mental maths is essential for stimulating pupils’ mental activity. It helps them develop their memory, speech and ability to understand what they hear, and increases their attention span and reaction speed.

We are one of the first companies to bring mental arithmetic to Europe, and, based on our teaching experience, we have combined our fast mental maths programme with the following aspects from our Brain Fitness exercises:

  • Memory exercises: visual and auditory.
  • Attention exercises: focus, concentration, capacity and stability. The exercises help children concentrate on information from both visual and auditory sources.
  • Exercises in logic and thinking outside the box: we achieve this by providing students with additional games, learning aids and assignments, as well as video materials.
  • Exercises encouraging interaction between the two sides of the brain. This includes kinesiological exercises and exercises designed to speed up the thinking process.
  • Increased motivation. Both high-fliers and children who find learning difficult enjoy studying with us. Taking part in our lessons increases children's love of learning.

So, what does your child gain from the standard 2-2.5-year Abakus programme, which leads on to the basic competition level?

Introduction to the abacus. Introduction to numbers 1-9 and two-digit numbers. Hand positioning (how to write numbers), development of fine motor skills and interaction between the two sides of the brain, speech development. Improved concentration and attention span, visual thinking and photographic and auditory memory through images (flashcards) and mental arithmetic. Development of maths skills using logic and spatial reasoning puzzles. Improved sharpness, attention and powers of observation through brain games. Reduced inhibition thanks to group games and Brain Fitness exercises. Group work, helping children to improve their communication and teamwork skills. Adding and subtracting two-digit numbers using the easy method. Children develop a love for maths and learning in general. The lessons make children more motivated to study.

Performing calculations using an abacus. Improved finger dexterity. Addition and subtraction. Performing calculations with various combinations of one-digit numbers (6+8-2+3+9+4-7+8-5). Learning which numbers add up to 5 and 10. Development of concentration and attention span, visual thinking and photographic and auditory memory through mental arithmetic. One-digit number exercises (5+7-2+6). Development of maths skills, logic and spatial reasoning puzzles and Brain Fitness. Brain games (improving sharpness, attention and powers of observation). Group work and joint activities. Increased motivation to study.

Addition and subtraction on the abacus: combining one- and two-digit numbers (27+5-14+9+67-3+82-5+16-9). Development of concentration and attention span, visual thinking and photographic and auditory memory through mental arithmetic. One-digit number exercises (8+3-6+8-2). Multiplication tables. Memory exercises and ways to solve them (for children aged 7+). Development of maths skills, logic and spatial reasoning puzzles and Brain Fitness. Brain games (improving sharpness, attention and powers of observation). Group work and joint activities. Increased motivation to study.

Addition and subtraction on the abacus. Combining two-digit numbers (86+54-25+46+98-31+79-64+76-59). Development of visual thinking and photographic and auditory/verbal memory through mental arithmetic. One- and two-digit number exercises (7+8-2+5-6+7); (4+28-4+95). Multiplication on the abacus: multiplying two-digit and three-digit numbers by one-digit numbers (65 x 8, 893 x 4). Division on the abacus: dividing two-digit and three-digit numbers by one-digit numbers (96 ÷ 9; 332 ÷ 4) Development of maths skills, logic and spatial reasoning puzzles and Brain Fitness. Brain games (improving sharpness, attention and powers of observation). Group work and joint activities. Increased motivation to study.

Addition and subtraction on the abacus: combining two- and three-digit numbers (314-72+765-97+546+23-375+37+457-21). Development of visual thinking and photographic and auditory/verbal memory through mental arithmetic. One-digit number exercises (8+4-3+8-1+9-3); exercises combining one- and two-digit numbers (56-3+94+9-4). Multiplication on the abacus: multiplying two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers (91 x 85). Division on the abacus: dividing three-digit and four-digit numbers by one-digit numbers (4743 ÷ 9). Development of maths skills, logic and spatial reasoning puzzles and Brain Fitness. Brain games (improving sharpness, attention and powers of observation). Group work and joint activities. Increased motivation to study.

Addition and subtraction on the abacus: decimals (47.84+0.36-1.46+34.09+3.95+7.29-54.29+12.48+4.95-2.49). Development of visual thinking and photographic and auditory/verbal memory through mental arithmetic (67+39-28+58); (65x8); (621÷9). Multiplication on the abacus: multiplying three-digit numbers by two-digit numbers (612x59). Division on the abacus: dividing three- and four-digit numbers by two-digit numbers (1184÷16). Development of maths skills, logic and spatial reasoning puzzles and Brain Fitness. Brain games (improving sharpness, attention and powers of observation). Group work and joint activities. Increased motivation to study.

The mental arithmetic method taught at Abakus centres complies with international standards. We are constantly tweaking the programme to ensure it remains interesting to new generations of students and parents.

Developing mental skills at an early age provides a strong basis for future academic and creative excellence.

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Poland

Warsaw, ul. Wiertnicza, 118

Tel.: +48 574 068 750

Czech Republic

Prague, Zhizhkova Square 6

Tel.: +420 775 312 260

Slovakia

Bratislava, Cádrova 23

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