Thousands of students set to benefit from early maths program

by James Reid25 Aug 2016

The Victorian Government has thrown its support behind an early intervention program helping children develop their maths skills, providing it with a $542,000 grant.
The Let’s Count program helps families and early childhood educators to develop the maths skills of children through noticing, exploring, and talking about numbers, counting, measurement and patterns in their daily lives. 
The program – developed by The Smith Family along with professor Bob Perry from Charles Sturt University and associate professor Ann Gervasoni from Monash University – will now expand to 34 locations across the state over the next three years, helping more than 14,000 students.
The Smith Family’s Victorian general manager, Anton Leschen, told The Educator that the grant will help train 500 early education teachers on how to better support children struggling with counting, measurement, patterns and spatial awareness.
“We’re thankful to the Victorian Government for its generous support of Let’s Count, allowing the program to be available to more children across Victoria,” he said.
“We hope it inspires other generous Victorians to support our work, and allow us to make a difference for many more children from disadvantaged areas.”
Leschen added that the program been shown to make a huge difference to pre-school aged children and their maths knowledge and attitudes towards maths, helping to set them up for success at school.
“We fully expect those benefits to flow to over 14,000 Victorian pre-schoolers in the next three years. We’re really thankful for the Victorian Government’s support to make that a reality,” he said.
The children who participated in Let’s Count achieved a significantly greater level than their peers who were not involved in the program. Just over half (54%) of children who participated were able to count to 20 by the end of the program compared to 37% of children of the same age who weren’t involved in Let’s Count.
“What’s also exciting about Let’s Count is that it’s shown to have a positive impact on the knowledge, interest and confidence in mathematics learning and teaching of the educators who participated, and in helping parents identify maths concepts in their everyday lives and share it with their children,” Leschen said.
He added that as the program helps children strengthen their numeracy skills before they start school, it will “complement the great work” of principals and teachers once those children reach primary school.
“We fully expect those children who participated to be arriving at school engaged with maths and eager to learn more,” he said.
A copy of the Let’s Count report is available here: