28 June, 2010

CMA Kinder Programme

Have you heard of CMA mental arithmetic programme? If you haven't, neither have I until I went to explore and google about arithmetic courses for the young minds.

I also went into the KiaSuParents.com forum to read about kiasu parents' view on sending young kids (of Jayden's age) for extra arithmetic enrichment courses.

CMA is one of the most discussed schools when it comes to arithmetic enrichment courses. And there was also a recent feat on RazorTV of a 6 year old CMA student Cheryl Lee who holds the fastest record of 10-digit addition in Singapore. Very impressive.

Singapore really has alot of kiasu parents. Probably I am one of them.

I remembered Ms Jasmine told me that Jayden understands the simple concept of addition and subtraction and is able to use his fingers to do simple calculation so sending him for extra arithmetic courses would do him good. So I decided to call CMA up and find out more.

CMA is pretty stringent when it comes to enrollment. The child will have to go through a 45mins to an hour of basic assessment. The trainer will then introduce the basic concept and understanding of abacus and assess whether the child's fingers are agile enough to move the beads on the abacus.

Sounds easy, but I saw Jayden struggling with his index finger and thumb when he was asked to "open up" the beads (meaning separating 2 beads with his index and thumb at the same time). While the child is supposed to hold down the abacus with his left hand, the right hand's thumb and index are used to move the beads with the rest of the fingers holding onto a pencil. The pencil is never to be put down on the table at any time. This is to train the child to quickly write down the answer of the maths question without losing any precious time. Jayden got a bit impatient and at one time he dropped his pencil to the floor and then went on to separate the beads on the abacus. It is strictly not allowed and the trainer again reminded Jayden to hold onto the pencil again.

After 50mins, I could see the kids (Jayden was having his assessment with 2 other children, a 4 year old girl and a 5 year old boy) losing their attention span and interest. Jayden was constantly looking at me and signalling that he wants to go home.

Jayden and the other 2 kids passed the assessment. For Jayden, the trainer said that he could grasped the concept of abacus fairly quickly. He will just have to practice a bit harder on the fingering part which is quite normal for most kids his age. The trainer assured that after a few lessons he will do just fine.

The lessons can be conducted once or twice a week, depending on the child's progress and interest. For a start, we will just let Jayden try out the once a week programme. If he's doing fine and show interest then probably we'll sign him up the twice a week programme. I'm going to try to keep his abacus lessons on the weekdays so that we can still keep the weekends free.

This coming Friday will be his first lesson. I think it's going to be challenging but I'm looking forward to see how he fares.


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