Annette Peterson launched The Number Train class last year and it has received great reviews from Mumblers. Formerly a Primary School Teacher and Maths Coordinator Annette has lots of experience in teaching Maths and the best ways to engage children from an early age. Mini Mumbler attended for the year before he started school and it increased his confidence with numbers greatly and prepared him for what was to come at school (we both found out what a numicon was!)
The classes are aimed at children in their pre-school year (3+) and are held in Cookridge, Horsforth and Oakwood. The sessions are structured around a theme each week, so far this term we have had “Jungle” and “Bakery”. When the children first arrive there are age relevant toys relating to numbers laid out for free play until everyone arrives. The children then sit in a circle on foam numbers and the class starts with a register, the children are encouraged to respond when their name is called. Whilst the class is centred around numbers it is also very good at preparing children for school and improving their confidence when talking and participating in groups.
There are two Number Train mascots, Norman and Nancy, who help engage the children. The first activity, which my little boy gets very excited about, is boarding the imaginary train and finding out where it is going that week! Norman hands the children a numbered ticket which they have to match to a seat number in order to board the train. This is a really fun way of improving number recognition. They then sing the ‘Choo Choo’ song with actions and go on a train ride around the room!
After the introduction song Nancy then reveals the theme of the week from her special red suitcase. Annette encourages the children to guess what the theme is by pulling out items that link to it e.g. this week was ‘Bakery’ so there were measuring spoons, scales etc.
The sessions are very engaging and the individual activities are the right length to keep the children’s concentration. The use of fancy dress was a big hit this week as the children dressed up as bakers! The group activities were, buying five current buns from the baker’s shop, pat-a-cake and a gingerbread man song. The activities are very lively including songs, actions and movement so the children never lose interest. They include a range of things such as counting, number recognition, mathematical language, developing patterns, shapes, colours, positioning and subitising.
My little boy had not previously shown an interest in learning numbers at home, but the activities at Number Train always have an underlying focus on Maths and are delivered in a very subtle and fun way so that the children don’t realise they are learning!
Each week there is an Arts and Crafts session with activities relating to that week’s theme. This week there were two tables set out. On the first table the children had to decorate biscuits with a repeating pattern using smarties and on the second table the children were using and recognising 2D shapes to cut out play dough biscuits as well as counting the correct amount of raisins into numbered bun trays.
Annette always suggests examples of how to make the tasks easier or more difficult depending on your child’s ability.
Following this, there is a group activity which involves burning off energy!! This week they were divided into teams and went on a ‘Cake Treasure Hunt’, finding hidden cakes around the room with the relevant number of candles for their team. The week before they had to cross the crocodile swamp! Both great for stimulating the children’s imagination and encouraging them to work together which are important skills for when they start school. The session always ends with the ‘Hokey Cokey’!
The attention that goes into planning the sessions and the passion that goes into delivering them is excellent. I love (and so does my little boy) the varied activities Annette does in a 45 minute session and the classes give you lots of ideas of how you can support your child’s learning in a fun way at home.
Using her experience as a Primary School Teacher, Annette knows how to capture the children’s imagination and she has them completely captivated and engaged throughout which is amazing. Annette also helps children build in confidence throughout the sessions and ensures every child gets the opportunity to participate.
I thoroughly recommend this class for anyone who has a child in their pre-school year.
Current Class Schedule:
Monday: 1oam at Horsforth St James’ Parish Centre. (Off Low Lane) LS18 5QW
Monday: 1:00pm at Oakwood Church. LS8 2QA
Tuesday: 1.30pm Horsforth at Horsforth St James’ Parish Centre. (Off Low Lane) LS18 5QW
Wednesday: 1.30pm at Horsforth St James’ Parish Centre. (Off Low Lane) LS18 5QW
Friday: 10am, 11.30am and 1:30pm at Cookridge Village Hall LS16 7ER
For more details and to sign up for a free trial session visit the Number Train Website, Facebook Page or call Annette on 07852 989523,