New math program adds up

[attach]1171[/attach]Heidi Winick is a math teacher, but she sounds more like a spiritual guru.

“When children excel at something you can see that confidence carry through into other aspects of their lives,” she says. “It’s powerful.”

In the fall Winick opened her branch of Spirit of Math, an enrichment after-school school for elementary students. The franchise serves math up in full courses, teaching the concepts in their entirety rather than serving them piecemeal.

“Math teaches children analytical thinking and problem solving,” Winick says. “It’s a way of thinking that, even if they don’t go into a math career, transfers into other areas of life.”

And she isn’t alone in her vision. Her husband Ted is well known as a co-founder of the Chess Institute of Canada, which has brought chess into many of Toronto’s schools.

It was through this work that the Winick family came to the Spirit of Math as Ted noticed that many of the winners at elementary chess championships were students or alumni of the program.

“When he asked his students about Spirit of Math, their eyes would just light up,” says Winick.

The school, located in the Howlett Academy, is proving popular.

“We have almost 60 students now. The grade 3 class is almost full,” says Winick.

But why have school after school at all?

“It’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the regular school system, but for those highly-motivated, high-performing students, there’s often just not enough of a challenge,” she says, “And it’s so important to challenge students at this age.”