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Abi Wood talks about her experience attending one of our SHINE a Light sessions:

My second day of work experience at MakeBelieve Arts came with great anticipation, and I was so excited to see the magic for myself. Arriving at Beecroft Garden Primary School, I was introduced to the first group of children we were working with, and was greeted with a circle of engaged (if a little excited) kids who immediately bombarded me with various questions on my very existence. The group was made up of children who had been identified to be struggling with maths, and having never enjoyed maths through school I sympathised with them and could relate to their struggles. The idea of the session was to help the kids engage with maths through a more creative and fun way, to ensure that they have a good time and maintain focus as well as memorising the techniques.

To start, we were all asked what we would do with a single £10 note, and if we would save or spend it, and what on. I went straight for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, (at £4.49 each I would be able to get a tub of cookie dough and possibly chocolate fudge brownie too), but there were some far more imaginative suggestions in the room, including my partners who couldn’t decide between a trip around the world or a supersonic yoyo.

Throughout the morning we did multiple games and exercises (a rows and columns warm up included) with both groups of children. They seemed to forget that they were in a maths lesson and became, like myself, completely enwrapped in this world where maths is something to be enjoyed rather than endured.

What I loved most was probably the intense looks of concentration on all faces across the room while competing in number chart challenges for ‘gems’ and ‘treasure’ (aka marbles), and the sheer excitement over choosing various items in the ‘shop’ for the queens holiday this year. Being involved really brought me back to a time where anything is possible and even addition can become an adventure.