Abagility Maths Club is an early childhood learning programme offering classroom tuition to young students (4-12) on how to use the Japanese Soroban (abacus) to enhance their mental arithmetic skill. It is a practical, concrete and visual method leading to exceptional mental arithmetic skills.
The skills are taught through the use of a Japanese Soroban, known in South Africa as an abacus. The beads on the abacus are used to represent numbers and the children use these numbers to perform calculations by moving the beads up and down with their fingers. The children are taught to break down numbers into components. Instead of traditionally memorizing maths facts the children continuously manipulate the numbers by breaking them down into these components. They learn to understand how the pieces fit together and in turn visualise not only the process but also the results of their calculations.
This programme teaches children to calculate accurately and speedily making the process of learning more satisfying for the child, and helping to boost their confidence. The results seen from the children are phenomenal and have shown to increase children’s understanding of arithmetic, and quite substantially improve their results across all areas of learning.
Ultimately, Abagility Maths Club provides children with arithmetic and mental arithmetic skills, which can be applied in their day to day lives, and which gives them a strong foundation in mathematics.
It is Abagility Maths Club’s vision to provide a unique learning experience which makes a difference in the lives of our students through sharing the timeless Japanese technique of mental arithmetic with care, passion and excellence whilst innovatively aligning our curriculum to modern schooling. It is our dream to enthuse one child at a time until we have a nation of inspired, self-confident and mathematically skilled children.
Abagility Maths Club is a local company established in KZN by Tracy Hauptfleisch. Tracy, an MBA Graduate and mom, aware of the educational struggles in South Africa, wanted to ensure that her children developed into balanced, educated and successful individuals who would be able to “think out of the box” and one day become entrepreneurs.
In 2009, she identified a Japanese abacus maths programme that she felt would make a massive difference to the development of not only her own children, but to all other children out there as well. Tracy was so inspired by this alternative method which helped children to understand and grasp maths so easily, that she threw herself into learning this new skill so that she could share this knowledge with others. Tracy and her passionate team started teaching the skill in April 2009 in the Upper Highway Area. It quickly spread to other areas in and around Durban and she had to grow her teaching team to accommodate more children.
Tracy had felt for a long time that value could be added to her students learning experience on the Japanese abacus by bridging it with school maths. She wanted to introduce a programme which not only gave children the advantages that a Japanese abacus maths programme offered, but that also included learning material and problem solving in alignment with school type maths. She chose to create her own programme to do just that, and launched the Abagility Maths Club programme in January 2015. This customised and well-rounded programme bridges the gap between children knowing the Soroban skill and using it in their daily school maths experiences. The programme is able to benefit all children whether they are left or right brained, or good at maths or not.
In the 15th century the Chinese abacus, known as the Suanpan, was introduced to Japan. During the late 19th century the Suanpan was modified and improved on by Japanese mathematicians who changed it into a more efficient calculating tool which was smaller in size and easier to use. This became known as the Japanese Soroban and is the abacus still used today.
The Soroban became a popular tool in the mid 20th century. It was a simple and convenient tool allowing people to carry out calculations mentally and by hand, achieving speedy results rivalling modern calculators.
In 1938 the Soroban technique was introduced into the Japanese school curriculum. Due to its many benefits, the Soroban technique is still taught today in modern day Japan.
Due to the popularity of the Japanese soroban maths technique and the immense advantages it gives children in their mathematics and other areas of learning the technique is being taught in numerous countries across the world such as; Japan, China, India, Russia, USA, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey and of course South Africa.
Children who become skilled in the use of the Soroban become astoundingly skilled at mental maths calculations known as “anzan” in Japanese.
There are two hemispheres to our brain i.e. the left side and the right side. In general people tend to predominantly use more of one side of their brain than the other. As most people are right handed, they tend to use the left side of their brain as the right side of the body leads to more stimulation of the left brain cells. The right and left side of the brain is each a cognisant system in its own right and responsible for different functions of the mind.
The left side of the brain has the ability to do the following:
The right side of the brain focuses on more creative aspects and needs to be well stimulated. It has the ability to do the following:
Although each person predominantly uses one side of their brain, all brain processes still take place in the whole brain. The brain is very flexible and can be stimulated by various means. Whole brain integration means that by using both sides of your brain you can improve the productivity of your brain. Of these various means, the one well known activity stimulating both sides of the brain by means of brain exercise, is the abacus.
Children who are trained in using the abacus, actively use their right brain. They use their hands to move the abacus beads in calculations, and in this way, stimulate the cells in both the right and left sides of the brain. The result is a balanced whole brain development, leading to greater mental capacity.
Scientific analyses indicate abacus training can improve a child’s ability to: