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Dr Helen's Reflections on the Camathories Approach

Updated: May 10, 2023

Hello, and welcome to Dr Helen’s blog. Here you will find a series of interesting, short pieces on various aspects of our unique approach. In the meantime, Dr Helen will continue to research and write, and also practice yoga from time to time. Have a read below…

“CAMathories® Folktale Mathematics™ Series takes folktales from different parts of

the world to teach young children fundamental mathematics principles, incorporating literacy through the power of folk storytelling. In this way we engage young children’s emotional and cognitive senses, giving them confidence and ensuring that they feel comfortable and engaged as they learn through a meaningful context (the folktale) (Whitebread 1995, 2020)*. We help children to build the foundation for early reasoning and analytical skills while nurturing and promoting to our next generation an understanding of different cultures, and mutual respect for all peoples around the world. Thus, enhancing “diversity, inclusion, and belonging to one world” in a gentle, civilized, and age-appropriate way. Ultimately, we wish to see and help build a better and more peaceful world.”

The above quotation is taken from the Foreward that you can read in any of our folktale books. What does it really mean, however? I thought it might be helpful to look at this in more detail. First and foremost, the Camathories vision is to teach and reinforce young children’s early math skills, either at home, or in their public early years settings. We have developed an exciting and engaging year-long math curriculum for 3-4 year-old children. Our curriculum is carefully scaffolded, so that the children learn fundamental math principles in an age-appropriate way. Bespoke teaching plans can be used to supplement the time spent on each book to reinforce its mathematical focus, creating an entire math lesson if required. We use music, movement and art to appeal to all young learners.

Story is a powerful medium for engaging young children. Who can say they have never felt lost amid the powerful words and nuances of a good story, or novel? Or been so engrossed in the tale that you have to keep on reading until you reach the end? Read one of our folktale books with your child, or children, and you will see what we mean from a child’s perspective! The books speak directly to the children; they ask questions, seek out opinions, and encourage responses. The ‘answers’ are revealed in the illustrations, for example counting out loud the number of porridge bowls they can see on the table in ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ or counting the number of presents that Haldi takes to her grandparents in ‘The Story of the Twin Girls’. Children will want to find out how each story ends.

Why folktales? ‘Folk’ is simply a noun that means ‘people’; it is a term that is recognised globally. As a noun, it can be traced back to the 15th Century in England, where I come from. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that folktales are a kind of story that gets passed on from generation to generation. True folktales do not have a single author. They develop as different people tell them orally over time. As such, they are creations of ‘the folk’, or the people of the country and culture. Many folktales are very old.

CAMathories® Folktale Mathematics™ Series takes folktales that tell stories of people from all around the world. In this way, children are also learning about history, and the past, of traditions and customs. This broadens their minds and encourages them to see that every country, every culture, has their own tales to tell. An important element of any early years curriculum is developing an awareness of, an understanding and acceptance of different cultures. In England folktales are sometimes called traditional tales; they tell of old traditions, of how people used to live. It is good for children to have an appreciation of the past and how we all belong in one world.

CAMathories® Folktale Mathematics™ Series thus teaches math first and foremost, but math embedded with a meaningful and teachable context. Try our books for yourself and please let us know how you get on. We look forward to hearing from you!

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