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In the News - February 2021

"School children go dance crazy for online maths"

A local business owner has devised a novel way for pupils to have fun with maths during lockdown – and it helps them keep fit and active. West Bridgford mum Rebecca Hart and her dance team offer fun school sessions where the youngsters bounce around to music and learn about maths, including a ‘stomping times table’.

Rebecca, the founder and CEO of education company Dance Equation, has moved her Dancing Digits classes online during lockdown. The sessions are for all age groups, from toddlers to teens, plus ones for special school pupils. Dance Equation was founded by Rebecca 20 years ago. She said:

“Research has proved some children learn better when they are moving around and using the different senses. There is a good connection between the brain and the body when they are learning well. Having fun also helps them remember.”

The limbering up in lockdown sessions also help overcome any ‘maths anxiety’ children may develop at an early age. Rebecca said: “Many children start school at five with concerns about maths, thinking they can’t do it because they don’t understand the concepts. “Our sessions help young children get over these stresses by helping them to have fun and make friends with numbers so they can go on to enjoy maths rather than being scared of it.”

Children are encouraged to make number shapes with their bodies, shout out the maths in rhythm and rhyme and the older ones even stomp out the times tables. Some of the classes are designed for youngsters and parents too. Rebecca said: “The active element to teaching is lost a bit during conventional lessons on Zoom or Teams. Some of them are a bit nervous to begin with but as soon as the music starts and they stand up, they get moving and we are away.”

The classes are not just for fun either. The sessions cover parts of the maths curriculum in schools including counting, sequencing, calculations and shapes.Rebecca, who is married with a nine-year-old daughter, teaches classes regularly at schools across the UK. A particular favourite is Rosehill Special School in St Ann’s, Nottingham, where she gets a good reception for her ‘embodied learning’ sessions. She said:  “This term, I am working there with five key worker classes where the children are on the autistic spectrum and they really respond to being encouraged to move and dance.”

Dance artist Rebecca’s ethos is to inspire and motivate youngsters to keep active, and think creatively. She said: “Many virtual exercise classes are great, but children simply copy the actions. We want them to think creatively and be imaginative as well.”
Her company Dance Equation has spent years researching the use of creativity in the curriculum. She has toured the Dancing Digits show and classes to schools around the UK for the past ten years, right up until the first lockdown.

Rebecca said: “The move to online learning has made me think we can easily roll out our programme UK-wide as the blended learning programme is more cost effective for schools.”

Rebecca was running her sessions for toddlers and their parents in West Bridgford Park in December just before the latest lockdown. This too has moved online. She said: “We can’t wait to start running the sessions face to face again.”

 

During the current lockdown she is involved with online teaching of children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters in schools. Schools, nurseries and parents can book session for Dancing Digits by visiting the Dancing Digits website.

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