Students at the St Margarets Kumon study centre will be doing their sums as part of a national Mathathon in order to raise money for charity. The Mathathon will take place on Tuesday 27th of May, with local children completing as many easy sums as they can in ten minutes. This fun event is one of many activities organised by Kumon to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Children at Kumon study centres throughout the UK and Ireland will be taking part in Mathathon events being held across the country between 26 May and 7 June.

The St Margarets Mathathon is open to all Kumon students, regardless of whether they study Kumon maths or English, and they are welcome to bring their friends and siblings along to join in the fun. Kumon wants as many children as possible to take part and get excited about maths! Sponsors can either donate a fixed amount of money or sponsor the student ‘per sum’. All the money raised at the centre will be donated to Save The Children.

Manjusha Malhotra, Instructor at the St Margarets Kumon centre said: “We are delighted to be involved in this national event and to be lending our support to a charity which does such wonderful work for children. The Mathathon should be a lot of fun for everyone involved - students, friends, families, assistants and Instructors - the more people who get involved the more successful the event will be! Kumon maths is about building confidence, as well as speed and accuracy, and is designed to complement maths studied at school and enhance children’s learning. The Mathathon gives my students an excellent opportunity to apply the skills they have learned for a very worthy cause and for other children to get a taster of what the programme entails.”

The aim of the Mathathon is to bring local communities together, to encourage Kumon students to be aware of those less fortunate than themselves by helping to raise to money for their favourite children’s charity, and to make maths come alive in this fun and exciting challenge. This is particularly relevant in light of current government initiatives to improve numeracy in schools. Sir Peter Williams, schools minister, recently warned against complacency and said the UK “remains one of the few advanced nations where it is socially acceptable - fashionable even - to profess an inability to cope with mathematics”. Kumon aims to make maths more enjoyable for as many children as possible.

The idea behind this all-inclusive, sponsored event generated from “re-cap study days”, was first implemented by Toru Kumon, founder of the Kumon programme. Toru Kumon believed that setting time aside, on a monthly basis, for students to work below their present level of study is great for concentration. These “re-cap study days” allow students who may be having difficulties with their current level of study, to re-gain their confidence, giving them back a “can-do” attitude by reminding them they can overcome obstacles with a little bit of determination. The effect of this activity can often be highly motivating to students. Kumon hopes the Mathathon will have a similar effect on those children taking part.

Toru Kumon, a maths teacher from Japan, began developing worksheets for his son over 50 years ago, determined to give him the best start in life by building solid foundations in the core subjects of maths and English. The Kumon Method focuses on each individual child, ensuring they are studying at their ‘just-right level’, whatever their age or ability. The programme is tailored to the needs of each child so they can work at their own pace, building confidence and encouraging them to become independent learners through self-study.