The way children are taught math in school has been evolving over the years. Teachers at Van Walleghem School in Winnipeg say it has gotten to a point where many parents are having difficulty helping even young children with their homework. That is why they host Numeracy Information Evenings for parents in the school library.

Jason Brandes has a daughter in grade 4 and says she tells him the techniques she is learning at school are different than the ones he learned when he was a student.

“I was really confused because I didn’t get the memo that things had changed,” he said.

Grade 2 teacher Christine Kovachs was one of the host teachers. She says the emphasis is now on exploring new problem solving techniques instead of rote memorization.

“Because all children are different learners and have different ideas, we all learn from each other,” she said.

In fact, she says she often learns from her 7 year old students.

“A child says, ‘Well, we could do it this way.’ And I say to myself, ‘Wow, that was great! That’s a great strategy I didn’t even think about.’”

Brad Burns, the school’s principal, says they started hosted the sessions because many parents were frustrated.

“Definitely, it is something we hear about and it can almost be in the form of an anger,” he said.

Brandes says the session was a great way for him to wrap his mind around the new techniques.

“I think this type of skill, it’s not just about understanding mathematics but being able to look at their environment and see trends and see the way that patterns are forming and being able to anticipate that.”

Burns says that is exactly the type of learning they are striving for.

“Children who are very young have the ability to think quite deeply about things and if we don’t give them practice doing that at a young age, when we do introduce it they are not engaged.”

He hopes parents who attend the Numerical Information Evenings will be better able to share in their children’s education.