I remember going to a parent-teachers meeting in Zeeka’s school. They asked us, parents, what our parenting objectives are. My husband and I shared that we want Zeeka to be an independent and confident adult in the future, capable of making her own decisions. We want her to learn and eventually exhibit the values that we believe in.

I think every parent wants to raise independent learners. I know we want our kids to grow and thrive so they could live the life they want.

The demand for problem-solving and critical thinking skills are much higher today than it was before. Because of new discoveries and innovations in technology, new businesses and careers are required to fill the gap. That’s why I try to give Zeeka as much support and opportunities as I can while she’s growing up.

So I did a quick research to know what skills and traits one should have to be called an independent learner and here’s what I found.

Characteristics of an Independent Learner

– Independent learners are naturally curious and explorative of their surroundings. They love learning from different angles and approaches
– Independent learners are motivated by personal goals they set for themselves.
– Independent learners know how to evaluate themselves fairly.
– Independent learners are responsible and remain accountable for their tasks. They also do it out of need without anyone telling them what to do.
– Independent learners are critical thinkers who examine possibilities and come up with multiple solutions to a problem
– Independent learners also have an uncanny way of learning. They read, visualize, or kinaesthetically instruct themselves and require little or no instructions from adults.
– Independent learners are also persistent. They don’t give up easily even if the tasks seem impossible.

So how do we raise our kids to be independent learners? Here are some tips

1. Build their confidence.

Self-esteem is a characteristic of an independent learner that you can nurture through acceptance, support, and love.

As parents, you need to recognize your kid’s talents and give praise when it is due. But be sure to be realistic with the praise and not let it get to their heads.

It’s also important to let them know it’s ok to be silly at times and not to take yourself too seriously.

Let kids experience failure so they know it’s part of the process. Kids need to understand that every mistake can be turned into an opportunity to learn from. What’s important is how they are willing to adapt and make necessary changes to correct their mistakes.

2. Create opportunities for independence.

I have the tendency to look at my little girl as if she’s always going to be my baby. I guess that’s just normal for every parent.

I mean, kids do grow up too fast. And I’m also so lucky to get to witness Zeeka grow up before my eyes.

But I also know that I won’t always be there to help her. So I try as much as I could to present her with opportunities where she can learn on her own.

I give her small tasks at home that she can do by herself, like packing her toys away or choosing what to wear for the day. I also ask her to help around the house. Even if we have a helper, I let her set up our table when it’s time to eat. I also require her to eat by herself.

These might menial, but it helps strengthen her motor skills and build her character. It also makes her aware of what responsibilities are and gives her a sense of accomplishment every time she completes a task.

3. Nurture your child’s interests and help them set realistic goals.

My little Zeeka is quite a performer. She can be shy and timid at first, but when she gets her groove on she can be such a ball of energy.

She loves being in front of the camera. She even told me she wanted to have her own talk show someday, like Ellen.

Here she is doing her version of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

Here she is looking so kikay when we visited Lady Kitty’s house at Sanrio Puro Land.

That’s why I look for different events and workshops where she can showcase her talents. Last summer, I enrolled her in a dance camp for kids and she absolutely loved it! She even has her own Youtube channel where she gets to talk about her toys, makeup, and other things she loves.

Check out her KinderJoy Egg Surprise Review here:

4. Don’t interrupt.

Kids learn things best when they figure it out on their own. Sometimes, their methods may not be what we expect. And as adults, we also need to let them be and learn how to deal with it.

Case in point.

If kids ask for opportunities to help or work on their own, don’t interrupt. But make sure to be there when they need some guidance. Don’t dismiss them or ignore them when they have questions.

It also helps to have a “no spoon-feeding rule” at home. In case they can’t figure it out, you can point them in the right direction. What’s more important is their desire to give things a try.

5. Encourage the love of books and math.

Reading books introduce us to different concepts and ideas. And in turn, it also feeds our minds and makes us more creative. It also expands our vocabulary, improves our communication skills and our memory.

Reading also enriches our analytical skills and enhances our decision-making. It also stimulates our mental capacities and improves focus and concentration.

Much like reading, Mathematics is a mental exercise that helps develop critical thinking skills and independent learning. It is all about making connections and seeing patterns and builds our concrete and abstract thinking abilities.

Research shows that Mathematics trains the brains to see connections and build neural pathways that increase the brain’s power.

Here are some of the brain’s response when doing Maths according to Creation.com:

  • It creates the basis for systemic thinking
  • Develops analysis and problem-solving skills
  • Helps build critical sequencing skills that help one arrive at accurate results or logical conclusions
  • Promotes cautious thinking through deciphering complex math problems to arrive at an accurate answer.
  • Learning to integrate different principles by a trial and error basis to come to a logical conclusion

One way to build your kid’s independence is to enrol them in Math enrichment programs such as S.A.M. Singapore Math.

Seriously Addictive Mathematics Philippines or S.A.M. makes it fun and easy for kids to learn Math. Students get to learn Mathematics through play, using toys, tools, and manipulatives. This makes it easy for students, especially the younger ones, to understand mathematical concepts and increases their comprehension levels.

You can get to know more about S.A.M. Singapore Math here. SAM Singapore Math: What You Need to Know About

Raising independent learners can be easier with the right type of tools and a community supports you along the way.

So if you have any tips on how to raise independent learners, please do share them with us in the comments below.

Love Lots,
Ginger

P.S.

If you want to try SAM Philippines, here’s a 15% discount for you!

To avail of the discount:
Register via SMS/Text by sending: PD15 / Parent’s Name / Mobile No. / Email / City of nearest SAM branch to 0917-5826867
Wait for the reply with the 6 digit code and save it.
Show the 6 digit code at the SAM branch upon enrolment

Terms and Conditions:

  • To avail of the 15%, register to the Promo Discount
  • Show SAM center the 6-digit code from the reply text of SAM Head Office
  • 15% off is to be applied on the first month of tuition fee only.
  • 6-Digit code is unique and is assigned by SAM head office
  • Only non-SAM students can avail of the 15% discount.
  • Promo discount is valid from Aug. 27, 2018 to Feb. 28, 2019 only.

Did you know that using the CPA approach can help kids learn Math better and faster?

I first heard about the CPA approach when I was doing my research about Seriously Addictive Mathematics, and it was definitely an eye-opener.

My close friends would know how much I love learning new things. And as a mom, I want Zeeka to also have the same love of learning as I do.

Now that she’s in school, one of my priorities is for her to enjoy learning, especially Math. But because math is an abstract subject, it can get difficult for kids like her to understand the concepts behind it. I’m lucky though that ever since Zeeka was a little, she loved counting more than singing her ABCs.

To make mathematical concepts more concrete, the Singapore Ministry of Education devised a learning program that uses the CPA approach. They then applied it to what we now know as Singapore Math for kids. I have been noticing a lot of improvement from Zeeka, so I decided to share with you what the CPA approach is (based on my research).

CPA Approach Explained

Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach (CPA) was a concept derived from American Psychologist Jerome Bruner.

It is based on a theory of instructions proposed by Bruner in his book, Towards a Theory of Instruction. The idea comes from enactive, iconic, and symbolic modes of representations, and was later on adopted by the Singapore Ministry of Education as its key instructional strategy.

Bruner believed that students learn best by doing. In this approach, students learn by using manipulatives to learn mathematical concepts and skills. Students get the chance to explore, discuss, and understand the problem first hand. Instructors, on the other hand, facilitate and provide structure and feedback to students and increase the depth of understanding for the students.

How Singapore Math for Kids Use the CPA Approach

The approach has three stages: (https://mathsnoproblem.com/en/the-maths/teaching-methods/concrete-pictorial-abstract/)

 

  • Concrete Stage – This stage lets students manipulate concrete objects to model problems. Unlike traditional processes, the CPA approach brings the concept to life and allows students to handle and experience the objects and make sense of the problem at hand.

 

Credits to www.mathsnoproblem.com

 

 

  • Pictorial Stage -This refers to the seeing stage, where images are used to represent objects to solve a math problem. It lets the students make a mental connection between the concrete object and the models that represent the problem.

 

 

  • Abstract/ Symbolic Stage – This stage lets the students connect the previous stages to the abstract symbols to model the problem. It also involves the teacher introducing abstract concepts using numbers and symbols.

 

 

Using this process ensures that the child gets a deeper understanding of how problem-solving works. It also helps children create powerful mental connections and provides them with a structured way to learn concepts.

Most importantly, kids also get to learn at their own pace. With enough support from certified trainers, students get a fun and effective way to learn Math.

That’s what makes Singapore Math for kids awesome.

 

How to Use the CPA Approach at Home

So how can we parents use the CPA approach to prepare our kids for learning Math?

I went to Pinterest to look for simple, easy-to-do learning games we can play with our kids. And here are some we can use the materials we already have at home.

 

 

  • Lego Blocks

 

Lego blocks have huge intrinsic educational and creative value. But more than that, children can also build their spatial and proportional awareness through these toys.

They also help increase your kid’s gross and fine motor skills. And in advance situations, high school and college students can also use advanced Lego kits for robotics, computer programming, modeling, and more.

So how can you use blocks to introduce counting to your preschooler?

Draw numerals and dots on Lego Duplo blocks and help kids recognize numbers. You can even use the blocks as a measuring tool.

For more Lego ideas, you can check out this post from TheImaginationTree.com.

 

 

  • Playdough

 

Playdough is soft, fun, and can be changed into whatever shape we want. And this makes it an awesome toy/tool to use for teaching our kids math.

You can form it and shape it to numbers and dots.

You can hide small toys in them and do a mini-treasure hunt while counting how many they got.

You can also cut it into and use it to demonstrate fractions for older kids to understand.  

Watch this video to see ten more ways you can use playdough to learn math from DeniseGaskins.com.

  • Popsicle sticks

Popsicle sticks are a creative way to help kids identify numbers.

All you need are 20 popsicle sticks and a few colored markers. Number each stick from 1 to 10 in bold, black letters. Then make designs on the remaining sticks with corresponding numbers using different shapes and colors.

Once done, you can ask your child to match the sticks with the corresponding numbers, and even ask about the different shapes and colors on the sticks.

Texture Sequencing Sticks

Be creative! Use envelopes or glasses to count, or fruit loops and other items to create different patterns. You can also add in symbols to create simple equations for older kids.

Your imagination is your limit!

 

If you want to learn more about CPA approach and Singapore Math for kids, you can check out the nearest  Seriously Addictive Mathematics Philippines center near you.

Here’s a little something for you!

To avail of the discount:

  1. Register via SMS/Text by sending: PD15 / Parent’s Name / Mobile No. / Email / City of nearest SAM branch to 0917-5826867
  2. Wait for the reply with the 6 digit code and save it.
  3. Show the 6 digit code at the SAM branch upon enrolment.

*Terms and Conditions:

  1. To avail of the 15%, register to the Promo Discount
  2. Show SAM center the 6-digit code from the reply text of SAM Head Office
  3. 15% off is to be applied on the first month of tuition fee only.
  4. 6-Digit code is unique and is assigned by SAM head office
  5. Only non-SAM students can avail of the 15% discount.
  6. Promo discount is valid from Aug. 27, 2018 to Feb. 28, 2019 only.

Hope you like this article about the CPA approach! Have you ever heard of this? What do you think of it?

Building your kid’s critical thinking skills today can be the key to ensuring his bright future. And I can attest to that! I’ve seen a lot of successful people in the industry who have achieved what they have accomplished because of critical thinking skills. It’s no wonder that this is one of the things that is being taught in the Seriously Addictive Mathematics classes of Zeeka.

In just a few years, job descriptions and requirements have changed. I couldn’t imagine how fast things will change in the years to come. The question is, how do we prepare our kids for what’s ahead? How do we ensure their competitive edge when the time comes?

It’s just normal for us, parents, to get worried about these things. That’s why we do our best to send our kids to school and enrich them with experiences that will help them prepare for real life.

But first, let’s define what critical thinking skills are, and how conceptual understanding skills play a role in it.

What are Critical Thinking Skills?

Critical thinking skills are defined as a set of skills that lets you observe, experience, and analyze information to establish its integrity. It is our ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking and our response as an active learner rather than a passive observer.

These skills vary in levels, but also include the following:

– The ability to observe, analyze, and interpret topics in an objective and critical way
– Reflect, evaluate, and infer different arguments and angles in relation to a particular topic or issue
– Analyze and evaluate a point of view to determine its validity and strength
– Recognize negative points in an argument
– Ability to infer and predict implications of statements or arguments
– Explain and provide a structured reasoning and support for an argument
– Ability to solve problems and decision making

Critical thinking skills are the most sought-after skills in business today. People who have critical thinking skills can be a strong asset to any organization. These people are great communicators, fair leaders, and brilliant strategists that earn well and live purposeful, meaningful lives.

Sounds too good to be true? Definitely not.

As an entrepreneur, I get to be a part of different local and international communities. And every day, I get to meet awesome people who live amazing lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these folks don’t ever have problems. It’s just that they respond better to challenges and find the best solutions to make things better. That’s how I imagine my child would be like in the future. And it’s the reason why I choose to invest in Zeeka today so she could get to have the life she wants.

Today, I’m sharing some tips on how I help Zeeka improve her critical thinking skills. Most of these things are pretty simple, doable things you can do every day. Some of them are worthy investments I make to ensure her future.

How to Improve your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

1. Read to them and ask questions.

Do you agree that reading is the key to success? 🙂

Reading is actually equivalent to flexing the muscles in your brain. Every time you read, your brain creates different connections and responses, enriching your critical thinking. You get exposed to different ideas, travel to different places, and even change the way you see things with just books.

Reading also increases empathy and emotional intelligence. Stories help kids learn more about other people’s situations and recognize emotional cues. This helps them respond properly and learn more about human interactions.

This is why I invest in storybooks and read bedtime stories with Zeeka as much as I can. I also ask her questions about what she thinks and even let her tell her own stories through the pictures in the books.

Pro Tip: Kids learn through imitation so make sure you also read regularly at home. Kids who see their parents reading have higher chances of picking up books themselves.

You also don’t have to spend big bucks on books. But make sure to get topics that your kids are interested in, like dinosaurs and spaceships.

 

2. Let them play.

Children learn best through play. It reduces stress, improves balance, enriches cognitive skills and contributes to their social and literacy skills.

While it looks simple and complex, play is actually a form of expression that helps kids develop their imagination, dexterity, and emotional strength. It is through play that children make sense of the world around them. It also strengthens their immune system and also develops self-confidence and self-esteem.

It is recommended for parents to spend at least 15-20 minutes a day playing with their kids. Not only does it build your relationship with kids, it also gives you a chance to see the world through their kids’ eyes.

Pro Tip: Let your kids take the lead when you’re playing. As much as possible, don’t impose rigid rules especially on younger kids. Let them explore different materials and let them be creative with their play. As your kids grow older, you can introduce more structured games to help kids practice understanding and applying strategies and decision making.

3. Encourage them to try new things.

Children are naturally curious, and most of them learn through trial and error. And as parents, it’s important for us to encourage them as they go through this learning process.

It’s also an awesome opportunity for us to teach kids about life skills. Challenges are bound to arise, and children can be frustrated when encountering them. With proper guidance and processing, facing these challenges can teach them the value of resilience and courage.

Pro Tip: Kids need to know that they’re safe before they try new things. Strengthen their sense of security on a daily basis by making time for them regularly and paying attention every time. Assure them that mistakes are OK, and encourage them to find solutions to these errors.

4. Pause and wait.

As much as we love our kids, it’s also important for them to learn how to be independent.

Research shows that kids who are given tasks and responsibilities at home grow up to be more successful. They also need to have the chance to learn things and process their emotions on their own.

Yes, it does hurt when we see them cry when they’re frustrated or hurt. But we also need to understand that we won’t always be there to fix things for them.

Giving them the chance to do things on their own will benefit them in the long run and also help them become holistically stronger.

Pro Tip: Get a list of chores your kids can do and assign it to them. Here’s a quick guide of tasks according to age group and abilities.

5. Teach kids to love mathematics

Kids usually find Math difficult to understand because of its abstract nature. The good thing is, there are existing supplemental Math programs that make it easier for kids to understand.

S.A.M Singapore Math let kids learn Mathematics the fun way. With tools and strategies that encourage self-learning, kids of all ages get to learn more than the traditional processes.

Students of the method increase its students’ conceptual understanding. This means children get to grasp ideas and concepts and apply it to different situations and domains.

Solving problems can get frustrating. But this level of frustration can always be a good thing especially if it builds character and grit. As kids solve more problems, their self-esteem grows. It makes them more open to ideas and more confident to face the challenges that come their way.

Pro Tip: Enroll your kids in supplementary education programs like S.A.M Singapore Math to improve their critical thinking skills. Because there is no spoon feeding in S.A.M Singapore Math, kids learn independent thinking and life skills.

If you’d like to know more about S.A.M. Singapore Math, visit the website here.

And here’s a surprise!

To avail of the discount:

  1. Register via SMS/Text by sending: PD15 / Parent’s Name / Mobile No. / Email / City of nearest SAM branch to 0917-5826867
  2. Wait for the reply with the 6 digit code and save it.
  3. Show the 6 digit code at the SAM branch upon enrolment.

*Terms and Conditions:

  1. To avail of the 15%, register to the Promo Discount
  2. Show SAM center the 6-digit code from the reply text of SAM Head Office
  3. 15% off is to be applied on the first month of tuition fee only.
  4. 6-Digit code is unique and is assigned by SAM head office
  5. Only non-SAM students can avail of the 15% discount.
  6. Promo discount is valid from Aug. 27, 2018 to Feb. 28, 2019 only.

Build your kid’s critical thinking skills with these tips! Or better yet, share more tips with us in the comments section below. 🙂

Love lots,

 

I’ve heard good things about SAM Singapore Math from mommy friends in the past. And now that Zeeka is in school, I’ve also been thinking about how I can help her enjoy mathematics.

But before I make any decision, I make sure to do my research first. So I decided to get to know more about Seriously Addictive Mathematics or SAM is a Mathematics Learning Program from Singapore.

Seriously Addictive Mathematics or S.A.M. Singapore Math was founded in Singapore by Samuel Chia and Lau Chin Loong in 2010. It is a multi-awarded enrichment program catering kids from four to 12 years old.

The program is based on a syllabus created by Singapore’s Ministry of Education. It was designed to develop students’ higher-order thinking such as problem-solving, metacognition, critical thinking, and logical reasoning through mathematics.

When I visited Seriously Addictive Mathematics in Greenhills, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I just know that Singapore is a country that is known to have a world-class education system based on a combination of leading psychological, educational, and socio-economic studies of the day. This resulted in students getting access to the best ways to learn, retain and comprehend information.

A few years later, the change in curriculum led to Singapore students consistently topping the mathematics literacy rankings in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Trend in International Mathematics and Science Study (TISS).

Check out the rankings below:

S.A.M. Singapore Math is modeled after the world-renowned Singapore Math curriculum and developed by experienced Ministry of Education (MOE) teachers. S.A.M’s award-winning curriculum and pedagogy is the most relevant and most comprehensive Math enrichment program today.

What makes S.A.M. Singapore Math Unique

I’m sure most of you would agree when I say that we all hated Mathematics at one point. But I’m also pretty sure that we had that one teacher who made Maths easier because they took the time to explain the why’s and how’s of the problem.

That’s one of the biggest problems with traditional Mathematics taught in schools.Traditional Math is too focused on memorization and mathematical procedures and formulas. And because of that, Mathematics usually hold no meaning to us.

There are several reasons why memorization is not as good as we think. For one, memorization does not equate understanding. You can memorize the whole formula but without understanding how it works, it will still not help you solve the problem.

Traditional math teachers are also trained to proceed immediately on abstract ideas and teach the how to’s of the subject. And most of the time, teachers usually talk in a totally different language that makes it more difficult for students to understand.

Most of the time, students also need to keep up with the teacher’s pace. Once the lesson plan is done and you don’t understand it, you are also done for. This can also lead to self-esteem issues for kids later in life.

S.A.M. Singapore Math aims to give children a fun and fantastic experience with Math.

Here, students get to learn Mathematics through play, using toys, tools, and manipulatives. This makes it easy for students, especially the younger ones, to understand mathematical concepts. SAM Singapore Math calls this process as a holistic approach to learning.

At S.A.M. Singapore Math, there is no memorization.

They use different equations that kids learn to analyze and asses. Children also learn through guided questions so they could get to answer the problems on their own. By using this process, the kids get to learn by themselves and develop critical thinking skills and conceptual understanding.

Teachers under the S.A.M. Singapore Math program also undergo intensive training with S.A.M.

This helps them get to know how to adjust to every kids’ needs and adapt to the approaches that would help them learn Math better and faster.

Once they’re done, the trainers get certified and proceed to teach in different centers around the metro.

S.A.M. Singapore Math also offers students a classroom experience. Students and certified S.A.M. trainers engage in dialogue, probing questions, tools, and resources to make learning more memorable. Through visualization and a healthy dose of encouragement from trainers, children get to grasp the concepts easier.

This also helps increase the child’s self-confidence and level of independence. Once the child realizes what he can do by himself, he becomes more explorative and more open to learning.

But what really sets SAM Singapore Math apart is its CPA approach.

The program uses concrete items like props like toys and manipulatives, then move on to pictures that help explain the concepts. Once the child understands the images, he then moves on to the abstract part of the problem, which is represented by the numbers.

What Parents Are Saying About SAM Singapore Math

At the onset, Singapore Math sounds like it’s a pretty good deal. But if you’re a sigurista mom like me, you wouldn’t really take anything seriously unless you hear it directly from parents who’s experienced it first hand.

So I checked out their website, and here’s what Singapore Math parents had to say.

More than a subject, I think Mathematics is an important skill that children should be learning early on. And it’s awesome that SAM Singapore Math is removing the stigma about Math being boring or too difficult for children to do.

Is SAM Singapore Math worth the investment? Judging from the faces of these happy kids and the delighted feedback of the parents, I would say it’s a resounding yes.

So if you want to introduce your kids to a fun way to strengthen their foundation in Mathematics, schedule a meeting with the nearest SAM Singapore Math in Manila today.

Visit the SAM Singapore Math website here for more information.