In the modern world, when all the information is a few clicks away and when we do not make an extra effort to remember something (birthdays, phone numbers, addresses), children will reach for the computer or phone and deprive themselves of time rather than focusing and concentrating in order to remember certain things on their own. In that way, the memory weakens, we become prone to short-term memory, and also forget things very quickly.
Mental arithmetic is a perfect tool that helps us practice memory and concentration, because working with an abacus, and later without it, requires good focus and dedication, which greatly contributes to the development of many skills. According to the University of Manchester research, it has been scientifically proven that the IQ of children who attended mental arithmetic classes is on average 7.11 points higher than those who did not master that skill.
What exactly is mental arithmetic?
Mental arithmetic is an ancient Eastern skill of fast and accurate calculation without using any tools such as a calculator or even pencil and paper. This special type of calculation involves visualization of the abacus and simulation of finger movements on this ancient tool through which we come to the correct result.
In that way, we encourage the development of both cerebral hemispheres: mental arithmetic requires the child to come up with creative solutions and visualize numbers (activating the right hemisphere of the brain), while at the same time calculating complex mathematical operations through fine motor skills and finger movements (activating the left hemisphere).
It is known that, due to traditional, more often theoretical education, the left hemisphere of the brain is more developed in most people, while the “mental” way of learning requires simultaneous work of both hemispheres, which encourages intellectual development of children and their full potential:
- Photographic memory: Through mental arithmetic, we connect different arrangements of abacus beads and perform a visualization in our head that helps us get the final result. This type of visualization encourages photographic memory because, after numerous repetitions and mathematical calculations, we begin to memorize numbers pictorially and no longer think about logical connections. Photographic memory can later help us to memorize material faster, as well as verses, foreign words…
- Attention and observing: These two skills are the basis of language development and are very important for the further socialization of the child. Observation primarily refers to the child’s ability to focus on a particular subject (which in this case is practiced on the abacus), and then use the knowledge he noticed. Attention in this context is the skill to separate the essential from the irrelevant, to block all other external, unimportant things (this is practiced so that children can solve tasks while listening to music, playing the game night and day).
- Logical thinking: The task of mental arithmetic is usually not quick and precise calculation, but rather the adoption and understanding of mathematical methods by which we achieve it. Children need to understand the mathematical concept, instead of just “reading” it. The goal of mental arithmetic is not to memorize the calculation process but to logically conclude and perform mathematical operations in mind. Formulas can be forgotten over time, but logical thinking remains a permanent skill that we will use in every segment of our lives.
How do we use mental arithmetic in the BrainOBrain program?
Using an abacus is an efficient way to master calculating, but also includes both the kinesthetic and visual aspects of learning. This way, we unlock children’s intellectual potential and enable them to easily carry out complex mathematical operations.
Here at Active Brain Kids Academy, we nurture the BrainOBrain program. Next to mental arithmetic, this program includes both NLP and VAK methods that can equally contribute to the growth and development of every child, both socially, and intellectually.
Sign up for a free individual lesson and get to know the environment in which we work, learn all about the program, and give your child the opportunity to learn, create and play freely.