Programming targets individuals in pre-K through fourth grade, but the benefits extend far beyond this age group. As students move through the curriculum, they can become “buddies,” tutoring younger children. In addition to building camaraderie, explaining math, physical activity, and nutrition concepts will help solidify the older students’ understanding and develop key communication skills the tutor can carry through to their other studies.
Learning Advancement for Older Peers
The Math buddy program allows enjoyable, non-threatening math practice for older students because the older student must fully participate in the activities he/she is using to teach the younger student. Math requires significant practice for proficiency just as reading requires practice and repetition. According to Sheila Tobias, author of Overcoming Math Anxiety, more than two-thirds of adult Americans suffer from math anxiety. These anxieties begin in elementary school with an uncomfortable feeling about math. The Math Buddy program provides some of this necessary extra math practice time for both groups of elementary students. The enjoyable movement activities included in the Math Buddy program foster positive feelings towards math for all ages.
- Offers elementary students the opportunity to strengthen their math skills through enjoyable activities.
- Meets the extra PE minutes required to meet NYS regulation for physical education minutes.
- Encourages the first graders to quickly find their coat, boots and other belongings so that they can participate with the entire class.
- Allows the classroom teacher to help students that have difficulty crossing the midline.
- Provides older student the opportunity to improve their own math skills through teaching and leading the younger students. The process of teaching always solidifies one’s own knowledge.
- Allows an older student with weak math skills to “save face.” No one has to know about their deficiencies.
- Offers an older student with weak math skills motivation to quickly improve their own skills.
- Promotes strong school community relationships.
- Allows the older student an opportunity to be a role model and speak in front of a group.
- Offers both older and younger students the opportunity to have more physical activity during the day.
It is estimated that the older students will require three hours of training before the commencement of the Math Buddy Program which can occur in six 30-minute sessions. The training includes over 100 movements to teach the younger students. An extended version of the Math Buddy program can also include teaching the older students how to teach a variety of math concepts using the Math and Movement floor mats and banners. After the initial training, the students will receive additional training and guidance as the need arises. As a community partner, Suzy Koontz, founder of the Math and Movement program offers her services at a discounted rate to train the students in the skills necessary to participate in the Math Buddy program and to offer assistance throughout the initial Math Buddy program.