Preparing your child for primary one maths

Preparing your child for primary one maths

Maths can be a challenge no matter what your age is. Give your child a headstart before he enters primary one with this useful information and guidelines on what is expected of your child mathematically in primary school.

primary one math Need the low down on what your child needs to know before primary one math? Find out now!

The primary school mathematics syllabus has evolved over the years. The changes made can be a big shock to new parents these days.  In fact, the older you are, the greater the shock.

What’s changed

Simple addition, subtraction with beans, or memorization of multiplication times-tables booklets up to multiples of 12 alone have not changed, however the testing expectations have. Unlike the rote learning you might be familiar with that focused on the application of specific techniques for solving maths problems, the new primary school maths syllabus focuses on how much the child actually understands the fundamental concepts to promote metacognitive skills. It is no longer enough that the child knows that 7+3=10 or 9x6=54.  Your child is expected to understand why and how the same results can be attained by a variety of other means.

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Meta-what skills

According to the MOE website, “Metacognition, or thinking about thinking, refers to the awareness of, and the ability to control one’s thinking processes, in particular the selection and use of problem-solving strategies. It includes monitoring of one’s own thinking, and self-regulation of learning.”

To develop these skills, students should have opportunities to solve non-routine and open-ended problems, to discuss their solutions, to think aloud and reflect on what they are doing, and to keep track of how things are going to make changes when necessary. The emphasis is on awareness and perhaps a more creative way to do maths.

MOE goes on to say that “The goal is to allow students to connect mathematics that they have learnt to the real world, enhance understanding of key mathematical concepts and methods, as well as develop mathematical competencies.”

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primary one math Here are the specific guidelines for primary one math

What it means for primary school

The 2013 primary one maths syllabus will include the following main maths categories:

Numbers and Algebra

  • Numbers up to 100
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Multiplication and division (multiplying within 40 and dividing within 20)


  • Counting amount of money in cents up to $1 and in dollars up to $100

Measurement and Time

  • Length (measuring & comparing the length of objects in non-standard units)
  • Time (telling time to the hour/half hour)


  •  2D Shapes (Identifying, naming and describing basic shapes)


  • Picture Graphs (Reading & interpreting data from simple picture graphs)

The best way to prepare your child for primary one maths and the new improved primary syllabus is to relate the mathematical concepts above to daily activities. It is also important to emphasise to your child that rote learning and memorisation will not work in the new syllabus.

RELATED: What your child is learning in primary one

We hope that you have found this information useful to prepare your child for primary one maths. Share with us your experience of preparing your child for the rigours of primary one maths in school.

Check out this video where a local primary school uses fun activities to teach primary one maths to students.

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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