At the Dragon, we believe mathematics is more than just a subject – it is a way of thinking. We aim to give all children an experience of maths based on three core principles: understanding, enjoyment and challenge. At every level, the most important question for a child to ask is, quite simply, “Why?”. If a child understands why a technique works they have a much better chance of being able to apply that method in a different context. We aim to convince children that maths isn’t a ‘black and white’ subject; the goal is not the answer, but the process and there are many different ways of arriving at the answer. If a child is getting every question right, they are not being sufficiently challenged. The challenge in Mathematics is unpicking and analysing the underlying concepts, extending problems and drawing connections between ideas. The aim is that maths intrigues, inspires and makes real sense.
Our first aim when children arrive at the Dragon is to develop a firm foundation. We emphasise understanding through explanation: whether individually, in small groups, or as a whole class. Key ideas are revisited and built on, year by year, giving children the opportunity to refresh their understanding and draw connections between different areas of maths. They work with numbers, graphs, measures, shapes and statistics and are encouraged to generalise and be abstract. Algebra features heavily from Year 6 but verbal and written explanations are equally valued and encouraged. Mathematical vocabulary is hugely important as children learn to describe their methods concisely and precisely, gaining the tools that allow them to clarify, justify and explain.
The Dragon aims to help young mathematicians be critical thinkers – to examine their work and assess whether what they have done is sensible. Open-ended questions and projects encourage children to ask their own questions, investigate their own problems, write and test their own hypotheses and to explain their solutions.