Mrs Julie Austin, Mrs Katrine Smith and Mrs Melissa Greatrex

Knowing how best to assist children who experience difficulty learning Mathematics is often a dilemma for school communities. It seems that children sometimes need assistance to develop their understanding of Mathematical concepts and can find it difficult to reach their full potential in a normal classroom environment.

To assist children who experience difficulty learning Mathematics, the Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) Program was developed. The program is built upon the following beliefs about the mathematical learning of young children:

  • Children construct mathematical ideas from their expectations;
  • Children learn through being actively and intensively engaged in mathematical learning experiences;
  • Children construct mathematical ideas through discussing, listening and reflecting upon their mathematical experiences;
  • Mathematical learning involves risk taking which requires confidence.

The EMU Program comprises daily 30 minute sessions for between 10 and 20 weeks, depending on the progress of students. Teachers work with three or four students, specifically targeted at Year One level, the optimal age for intervention to achieve the acceleration required. A typical session includes five minutes of Counting and Place Value, twenty minutes of rich activities focusing on Pattern, Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division and Measurement Contexts, and a five minute reflection task. Students are tested prior to commencing the program to pinpoint areas needing attention. They are re-tested at the completion to assess their understanding and made recommendations for the future. These students are monitored as they continue their progress through the school.

The EMU Program was introduced at Watsonia North in 2007. There are currently four trained EMU teachers – Mrs Julie AustinMrs Katrine Smith and Mrs Melissa Greatrex.