19 Jul 2010
How to teach dyscalculia kindergarten children?
Frank Ho
Canada certified math teacher
Ho Math and Chess Learning Centre
www.mathandchess.com
July, 2010
I have seen more and more young children, as young as 5 years old, showing signs of learning difficulties in math. Unfortunately many parents are not ware that this math learning math disability is genetic influenced and blame their children are “not smart”. Some will think that their children just “did not concentrate”, or simply are “too young” without realizing their children actually are trying very hard but just could not do it.
I have great sympathy to those children who cried after being blamed by their parents or some chose to react by making “X” hand gestures on their mothers’ faces.
As a math educator I have spent some time in researching this topic and seriously think on how I can help to improve their math ability.
First I observed that these 4 or 5 years olds do seem to know that they have difficulties in learning math since often they do not even know why they cannot give the correct answers. They may give an answer 2  1 is 4 without realizing it is just illogic. They cannot give any reasoning on how they come up with a wrong answer. One 5+ year old child could do 3 – 1 is 2 but strange later, I gave an concrete example by drawing 3 circles and one circle and then explained to him what would happen if three circles takes away 1 circle, I got a blank answer from this boy. All the sudden the theory that children learn better by using concrete example does not seem to work on him.
They cannot observe pattern well, do not know how to get answer by using comparisons. Their reasoning ability in coming up with answer is very weak.
When learning chess, they only look at one piece at a time and have no ability to even care what the opponent is doing at all. Any results require them to process then they will have no ability to do it quickly. Even with simple calculation such as 2 + 1, 3 + 1, it seems to be a slow process for them to get answers. The responses are very slow in getting any answers for straight computation of additions.
Their brain, hand and eye coordination seems to be always in slow motion.
My observation indicates that to improve their math ability, to work on math alone is not effective. By combining the materials of training their brain on how to think and math is more effective than just working on math worksheets alone.
I believe that Ho Math and Chess’ math teaching methodology in combining math, chess, and puzzles is a great way of helping those young kindergarten children with math learning difficulties.
Frank Ho
